Rauner Urges IL Pension Changes, Other Reforms In Budget Address

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner  unveiled his fiscal 2019 budget yesterday, a $37.96 billion blueprint calling for reforms to help get IL back on track. Rauner stressed having school districts share teacher pension costs, getting a handle on state employee health insurance, and various other reforms.

Besides again advocating for an overhaul of employee pensions, Rauner told lawmakers during his address to the Legislature that he wants to shift retirement costs to local school districts and dictate health insurance benefits for state workers.

The first-term governor, who is facing a tough re-election bid, said pension and health expenses consume 25 cents of every dollar the state doles out.

According to Rauner, the pension revamp would save $1 billion a year.  He added that although he wouldn’t count on that money in the 2019 budget that begins July 1, it ultimately would allow him to drop the income tax rate from 4.95 percent to 4.7 percent.  It’s likely to face a court challenge as have past proposals because the Constitution prohibits promised pensions from being “diminished or impaired.”

In addition to pension reforms, Rauner requested reforms to the criminal-justice system and completion of a 200-bed veterans’ home in Chicago.  Read the text of the Governor’s speech here.

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