GOP Senators worried about pension, Medicaid funding
Updated: April 9, 2012 10:31PM
If some DuPage Republican Senators have their way, the state won’t be pushing its responsibility to fund teacher’s pensions off on local school districts, said
three of the party’s leaders April 5.
Sens. Kirk Dillard, R-24th of Hinsdale, Matt Murphy , R-28th of Palatine and Carole Pankau, R-23rd of Bloomingdale, took turns lambasting their Democratic colleagues.
The Teacher’s Retirement System, one of five public sector pension systems administered by the state, is unfunded to the tune of $43 million, about half of the state’s total unfunded liabilities.
Illinois Senate Bill 512 seeks to alleviate the pension shortfall by imposing a three-tiered system, with the options of staying in and paying more, going into a second tier that has lower benefits, or move into a defined contribution 401K plan.
The numbers show a bigger portion of Illinois’ budget going to Medicaid than any other state, and, as Dillard noted, even Gov. Quinn is starting to acknowledge the need for reform.
Quinn recently proposed a $2.7 billion reduction in Medicaid spending, more drastic even than the $2 billion proposed by the Republican Caucus last year.
Pankau explained that at least $1 million could be cut from the Medicaid budget through changing billing practices.
Citing Quinn’s recent floating of $2.7 million in Medicaid cuts, Dillard noted that there has been some movement by Quinn toward common ground, stressing that it was similar to the $2 million figure that Republicans suggested last year, only to be told by Quinn that he wouldn’t even talk to them.
“He has,” Dillard said.
The cuts suggested are likely to draw opposition from the Illinois Hospital Association, and by those advocating for the disabled and poor.
“The hospitals are going to have to come to the table,” Dillard said.