Hays: Downstate, GOP will fight Madigan plan on teacher pension funding
SPRINGFIELD — House Speaker Michael Madigan's plan to redirect more than a billion dollars to teacher pension costs rather than to local governments will be opposed by downstate and suburban lawmakers, predicted state Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin.
The Chicago Democrat's proposal could be heard Wednesday afternoon in the House Executive Committee. It already has drawn heat from local governments throughout the state, as well as the Illinois Municipal League.
"I don't see any downstate or suburban legislator supporting it," Hays said. "And I'd be extraordinarily astonished if there was one Republican vote for it."
According to estimates by the Illinois Department of Revenue, Madigan's plan would take more than $3.1 million in personal property replacement tax money from the Danville school district, $2.6 million from the Champaign school district, and $1 million from the Urbana school district.
The city of Champaign would lose an estimated $950,000, according to City Manager Steve Carter, that would have to come out of the city's operating fund that includes police, fire and public works expenses.
Champaign County would stand to lose about $900,000 out of a $31 million general funds budget, County Administrator Deb Busey said.
"That's huge. That's about 2.8 percent of the year's operating budget," she said. "It could well force us to make additional revenue cuts."
Other big losers would include: Parkland College, $1.9 million; city of Danville, $1.5 million; Vermilion County, $1.2 million; Danville Area Community College, $521,000; city of Urbana, $325,000; village of Rantoul, $102,000; city of Hoopeston, $170,000; Champaign Park District, $244,000; Urbana & Champaign Sanitary District, $250,000; Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, $192,000; and Champaign County Forest Preserve District, $153,000.
Madigan's plan, contained in an amendment he introduced last week, would take $1.4 billion from the personal property tax replacement fund that goes to local governments and direct it instead to the badly underfunded Teachers' Retirement System. The amendment is on HB 3637.
Steve Brown, a spokesman for Madigan, said the proposal "is another option" for local governments that opposed paying employee pension costs.
"Maybe this will bring more people into the discussion," he said.