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6/26/2017
Legislative update 6.26.17
 
The Illinois General Assembly returned to Springfield last Wednesday for special session after Governor Rauner's sabotage tactics detoured negotiations during regular session. Throughout last week and the weekend, we have seen a flurry of legislative committee meetings and other related happenings, but an agreed-to budget bill has yet to surface.

House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee holds panel discussions
On Thursday morning at a meeting of the House Appropriations Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, IFT First Vice President Michael Day and IFT Vice President Jennifer White testified about the impact the budget impasse has had on K-12 classrooms and schools and the potential impact no budget would have on K-12 schools this fall. They also spoke about the drastic impact the impasse has had on Illinois higher education institutions. Watch the video below to see what they said.




Committee of the Whole

The House held Committee of the Whole meetings to discuss the impact a property tax freeze would have on local governments and schools on Friday, school funding reform on Saturday, and pension reform on Sunday.

Educators and advocates addressed legislators at the committee hearing on Saturday about SB 1, an education funding reform measure which passed the General Assembly in May, and SB 1124 and HB 4069, the recently introduced Republican funding formula changes. The three panels spent almost three hours discussing and digesting the mechanics of the funding proposals.

IFT President Dan Montgomery and IFT Vice President LeeAnn Gemmingen testified Sunday at the Pension Reform hearing alongside an attorney from the We Are One Coalition and a retired teacher. Rhetoric was terse at times coming from the reform proponents, asking questions that alluded to teachers having inflated salaries, skirting paying taxes on retirement income, and not paying enough of their fair share to the Teachers Retirement System. IFT panelists corrected these unfair and false claims while reminding lawmakers that these proposals would diminish pensions, which has already been deemed unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Dan Montgomery-pensionpanel
Photo courtesy of BlueRoomStream



Budget Update

The four legislative leaders met Sunday, and it’s been reported that the conversation was positive. However, the Governor continues to make non-budgetary, political demands as a prerequisite to approving a reasonable spending plan.

Watch ift-aft.org for updates as information becomes available.
 

“Capitol Compromise”

Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate held a press conference June 14 to announce the introduction of a package of bills they named “Capitol Compromise”. The proposed Republican compromise would adjust components of the “grand bargain” budget deal pushed by Senate Democrats earlier this year and re-introduce them.

Highlights of the package include:
 
  • Property Tax Freeze (HB 4066)
    Freezes property tax levies for four years.

  • Consolidation (HB 4067)
    Government consolidation, which includes school districts.

  • Education Funding “Reform” (SB 1124/HB 4069)
    Similar to SB 1 this legislation calls for an evidence-based model of school funding.

  • Budget Implementation (SB 2217) and Revenue/Borrowing (SB 2218)
    Savings are predicated on reforms to pensions, state employees’ group health insurance, and procurement. Income tax would increase effective July 1, 2017.
     
  • Pension “Reforms” (HB 4065) and Pension Consideration (HB 4064)
    Creates Tier 3 hybrid plan for newly hired members in TRS and SURS and gives local governments choices in their retirement benefit plan offered to new employees. Implements a “consideration plan” to reduce unfunded liabilities and reform Tier 1 pension benefits. Prevents pension spiking and reallocates pension costs for high salaried employees. Picks up the CPS normal pension cost.

  • Bond Authorization (SB 2176)
    Provides for selling revenue bonds totaling $6B to significantly reduce the state’s backlog of unpaid bills while saving the state millions of dollars in late-payment interest costs.

  • Term Limits (HJRCA 33) and GA Term Limits (SJRCA 2)

  • Worker’s Compensation Reform (HB 4068)

A look ahead

Stay tuned to ift-aft.org for updates on the budget and other critical legislation as the clock ticks down to the new fiscal year starting on July 1.
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