Reis Blasts Plan to Shift Pension Payment Responsibility

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Published on May 11 2013 3:24 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

 

State Representative David Reis is (R-Ste. Marie) voicing strong opposition to House Speaker Michael Madigan’s fast tracked plan to shift teacher pension liability onto downstate schools and taxpayers.

“I’m very much opposed to the Speaker’s proposal to push the teacher pension costs on local school systems,” Reis said.  “Madigan’s cost shift can only mean a couple things: layoff more teachers, increase classroom sizes, higher property taxes or a combination of all of them.”

Speaker Madigan began hearings last week in Springfield to discuss shifting the costs of teacher pensions from the state to local schools, community colleges and universities.  Madigan wants to end the so called “free lunch” downstate schools receive after they set a teacher’s salary and then the state pays the pension based on those salaries.

“The Speaker says we’re getting a free lunch, but in reality, the Chicago Public School System has received a dramatic increase of state funding over the last ten years,” Reis said.  “Chicago has $196 million dollar advantage with only 18% of the students by receiving 49% of the PTELL grant money.  The City of Chicago has a $197 million dollar advantage in special education grants over downstate schools.  Chicago schools receive 47% of statewide poverty grant dollars, which is a $255 million dollar advantage over downstate schools.  If the Speaker wants to talk about free lunches; let’s talk about all of them.”

Reis said the Chicago public schools serve only 18% of the statewide student population, yet they disproportionately receive hundreds of millions in grants that are not accessible to suburban and downstate schools districts.

Reis maintains the real architects of today’s fiscal calamity must take responsibility for their over-spending and flawed economic decisions.

“The Speaker’s cost-shift plan demonstrates his unwillingness to take ownership of the mess he’s created.  Years of Madigan mismanaged budgets, enabling his Chicago members’ over-indulgent spending habits and expanding entitlement programs created a huge budget disaster.  They’ve maxed out the credit card and now he just wants someone else to pay the bill.”