Illinois House Turns Pension Payment Cutback Plan

May 28, 2009 ( - The Illinois House has rebuffed efforts by Governor Pat Quinn to reduce payments into the state pension funds.

A news report in the Champaign News-Gazette said pension funding including contributions to the State Universities Retirement System can still be trimmed back either by the state Senate or by Quinn. Representatives voted 102-0, with 14 voting present, to fully fund the pensions at a cost of about $4 billion, the newspaper said.

Democrats, including House Speaker Michael Madigan, noted repeatedly that the appropriations passed by the House mean that there is only about $3.5 billion in tax revenue left for some $10 billion in other requested appropriations.

The House vote was in stark contrast to Quinn’s proposed budget. Not only had the governor proposed a $2.3 billion reduction in pension funding for the fiscal year beginning July 1, but he also had suggested skipping the fourth quarter pension payment in the current fiscal year as a way of saving $2.8 billion (see  Illinois TRS Objects to Proposed Cuts to State Pension Funding ).