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Senator Bertino-Tarrant fights for workers and retirees. Kirk Dillard and Jil Tracy will make education a top priority here in Illinois…. Stopping at two great events tonight; the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform…. Congratulations to Fremont Township for looking out for the tax payer and holdin…. Illinois health care exchange costs are more than triple the initial …. Elgin father, son changing your movie snack menu — Chicago Daily Herald.

Chicago promotes computer skills for teenagers. The courts will decide what sort of state this really is — The Capitol Fax Blog. Former superintendent to serve 12 months in jail. CPS to add computer science as core subject. Referendum on elected school board kept off March ballot. Louis, other regional casino markets see declining revenue — STLtoday. The Chicago way: Illinois prison official has been arrested 24 times — TheBlaze. Quinn using pension reform for campaign cash. Controversial Illinois school poll tells what students and teachers ….

Rutherford on Fox Business: Pension overhaul unconstitutional. More Golden Horseshoes. Legislator wants to get legislators, CEOs off the hook. Absolutely beyond the pale. Jesse Jackson among Illinoisans heading to South Africa for …. Dan Rutherford — Got a morning jog in on treadmill while… Facebook. Congress has a lot to do, and much time to get it all done. Guitar-playing bankruptcy judge tuned in to people. Op-Ed: The importance of family. Jefferson takes pledge to support local. Gold coin found in Naperville Salvation Army kettle.

Senator Iris Martinez voted for pension theft but says she was …. Illinois gives Ditka special license plates. Haine, Kay did not back pension reform bill. Quinn Heads to DC. Will there be changing of the guard at RTA? Kirk has gall bladder removed. Durbin pays tribute on Senate floor to late former mayor of Du Quoin. Chicago e-cigarette regulations stall. Illinois dodges extra mortgage guarantee fees.

GOP figure Richard Williamson dies at Investment trust to buy Casino Queen. Chicago in Lincoln City Manager McLaughlin. PetrellaReports: Springfield, Sangamon County and Hanson Professional services partnering to encourage minorities in engineering:. Quincy hotel offers holiday experience for local charities. District 54 names new asst. Daily Herald article explaining the importance of all citizens participating in…. DHStatehouse: Blagojevich arrest, five years later. Weekend winter pictures from around the country.

Ex-Country Club Hills chief to be sentenced. RonSandack: Geography over party affiliation explains some of it. Bugs me. GED cleared path for new Rockford trucking entrepreneur. Brady pleased with media reaction to his pension reform vote. Thank you for giving our cre…. Quinn declares Monday as Ditka Day in honor of retirement of …. KateGrossman1: Editorial: Schools only work if kids show up. DooleyJenna: IL roads starting to clear as seen by latest map. Litchfield Discusses Water Tower Options. Experts say Chicago has a public pension system set up to fail.

Tollway explains why some ramps are I-Pass only. Senator Hopeful Budget Deal Near. Dictator Madigan is running the show. GovernorQuinn: Students from ES helped light our tree this year. The first graders brought…. SenatorNoland: Looking mighty professional! Happy to have so much support statewide! Critic Roger Ebert to be honoured in sculpture — gulfnews.

Public-private partnership to encourage minorities in engineering. Pension reform solution further complicates University faculty …. Illinois drops K2 in funds-of-funds restructuring. Pensions, politics and peccadilloes. Letter: Will judges uphold Illinois Constitution? Senator Lauds Illiana Project. Study Links Cancer and Downstate Illinois. Rural Resources Examined. Editorial horseshoe: Opportunities for holiday giving abound. Illinois volunteers catalog lost tornado documents. Gary Forby at this morning or listen on line at. Construction Continues on Superman Set in Yorkville. Conservative leaders needed to save Illinois — Belleville News Democrat.

Storm brings Illinois icy roads, school closings — Enquirerherald. Local congressmen think farm bill will be approved. High-powered lawyer takes on new challenge: ethics in Cicero — Chicago Sun-Times. We are coming back from a college visit in Providence, RI- beautiful area! My primary race is highlighted in this Daily Herald Op-Ed piece emphasizing the…. Get to be with the kids before the meet and greet. This race for governor is all…. A special thanks to the dedicated individuals who help run our district offices…. After canvassing the 26th district, we took a break to support a local business.

Second City Cop: What's This? And Why?

RonSandack: No surprise, the credit agencies took notice. Had the bill failed I suspect IL might have faced another downgrade. AndyForSenate: A special thanks to the dedicated individuals who help run our district offices and our campaign office. Legislation would allow flexibility in cord blood storage — Jacksonville Journal-Courier. SundaySpin: Dave Heinzmann from addresses Chicago crime. PeterNickeas: I hope the unions sit out the next elections. No money anywhere, come what may. It would be interesting to see.

RonSandack: and I were highlighted in Op-Ed advocating for more participation in primaries. RonSandack: My primary race is highlighted in this Daily Herald Op-Ed piece emphasizing the importance of better primary….

Bundle up! KirkDillard: Brunch with my family, we asked Santa for a new governor! Agriculture is one of our greatest strengths. To all those traveling today, be safe! RutherfordDan: Get to be with the kids before the meet and greet. This race for governor is all about their future. I was just on conference call with Steve Kim who is running as Lieutenant Governor on the same ticket with Dan Rutherford who is running for Governor of Illinois. It will be won by the grassroots efforts of Dan and his field operations team. Schock to lead Congressional delegation to Mandela service in South Africa.

Illinois Tollway readies full fleet of snowplows. Illinois association honors corn farmer boosters. Open house on long-range transporation plan. Chicago priest asked to step down amid sexcual misconduct allegations. Republican gubernatorial hopefuls to be in Q-C for forum.

State to require meningitis vaccination for some students. So maybe big business Emanuel is better for the city than crony M. Daley ever was… I really liked how the Tribune was able to thoroughly lay out our beautiful finical problems! Chicago schools transition—smooth or rocky? Pension bill foes have few options. Decatur should remain ADM headquarters. Few local political races to be contested in — Pekin Daily Times. StatehouseChick: Hold on tight, lawmakers. Pensions of Chicago workers, teachers next.

Unions may leave Quinn, other pols off donation list after pension vote. Catching Up With Sen. Dick Durbin. Expression Unlimited to study greetings. A little known fact: On this day in , the 13th Amendment — abolishing slavery — became part of the Constitution — when ratified by three-quarters of the states. Despite protests from the Democrats, the Republican Party made banning slavery part of its national platform in Senator Lyman Trumbull R-IL wrote the final version of the text, combining the proposed wordings of several other Republican congressmen.

All Republicans in Congress voted for the 13th Amendment, while nearly all Democrats voted against it. So strongly did President Abraham Lincoln R-IL support the 13th Amendment, he signed the document, though presidential approval is not part of the amendment process. Join us at 7a on. EdubEsq: The Mayor just made someone up their seat lol.

RayLong: A tale of two Chicagos via. Thank you to all of the dedicated volunteers that came out to show their support…. Gun bill stopped; lawmakers leave work undone. Quinn, Black Caucus derail gun penalty bill. Local lawmaker visits storm-ravaged Brookport. Pension Reform Proposal. Northwest Herald: McSweeney holding holiday food drive. Worst Funded Pensions in Nation.

Huge Medicaid Increase in State. ACA Seminar. Pension Reform Highlights. Wheeler Responds to Pension Reform Vote. Tom Cullerton responds to pension reform vote. Forby, Phelps hold seminar for retirees. Office Depot, Univar bill passes Senate. Morrison Responds to Pension Reform Vote. Summary of Newly-Passed Pension Plan. Pension Reform Legislation. Hammond Opposes Pension Legislation. Dependent Verification Deadline Extended.

Pension Reform. Legislative Update for December 5, The Morrison Memo for December 6, Week In Review — December 6. Wheeler 64 Report. Did Belleville officials keep their campaign promises? Finke: Pension reform a work in progress. Mud Snails Close to Illinois Waterways. Durbin on Social Security. Voice of The Southern: Pension neglect not an option. Bob Heisse: An emotional day for Friend-in-Deed volunteers.

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Prescription Abuse On The Rise. Illinois state prison inmates take part in tornado recovery efforts. Finally, IL almost agrees with taxpayers about pensions — Quincy Journal. Erickson: Pension action is a matter of perspective. Feeling cheated — Northwest Herald. Should state workers retire before pension law kicks in? CompTopinka: Today we honor those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor 72 years ago.

KirkDillard: Family dinner at the famous Chicken Basket in! MikeforIllinois: Today we honor the men and women who lost their lives at , and give thanks to all who serve. BruceRauner: Evelyn helped make calls today too. Folks were fired up. Ready to. MikeforIllinois: Join me and tomorrow in! Specialedlawyer: Deadbeat Illinois imperils special education.

It is a real embarrassment to be from Illinois with stories like this. It widened it. Louis is truly one of a kind. Let us bow our heads for a m…. Great community organization. RonSandack: Good first step. Wrigleyville bar takes flak for Pearl Harbor sign. RobertFeder: This just in: elects to get more political:. Did former New Athens mayor inappropriately profit from creation of tax incentive? I voted against the Madigan pension bill.

Illinois MikeFrerichs. Tell us what you think the top issue facing Illinois is. Be sure to take our …. Great steak fry put on by the Pike County Twp folks today for lunch at the Pitts…. This week, the General Assembly passed legislation that will strengthen the new…. Today we pause to reflect on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and thank our veterans…. Baby its cold outside… 8…. Today we remember the tragic events of Pearl Harbor and the sacrifices made by t…. At head table for the annual Irish Fellowship Christmas Lunch, fundraiser for sc….

BruceRauner: Jumping in on a call! Wanted to talk about education reform. I programmed my own sticker! I proudly represent the Trumbull Park Homes and…. Appreciate all they do for our members! RepKellyCassidy: Yay! The Illinois Family Institute endorsement questionnaire has arrived.

Of the 10 questions, 5 are bills that already passed. KristinforIL Today we went to work! Illinois marking 72nd anniversary of Pearl Harbor. GOP, Dems now face consequences for pension reform votes in …. Good folks working challenging terrain. Lawmakers consider changes in state incentives program.

Briefs: Lipinski to hold veterans fair. Illinois state lawmaker proposes naming major Chicago route after Nelson Mandela. Kankakee ponders next move in sales-tax sharing controversy. Illinois pension reform has local workers worried. Chicago officials try to tackle K-8 grade truancy crisis.

Illinois ponders what to do with empty public buildings — Rockford Register Star. Believe it or not, even fiscally conservative friends and relatives are polite enough to acknowledge the common sense of this approach. A hollow victory is one that proves to be unfruitful in the long run. Count me among those that are glad the General Assembly has come off as bone-headed as you have with SB1. Donor incentives boosted for Ebert sculpture.

Explore transportation needs. Teachers strike in small Illinois town. Former Madison County treasurer gets 30 years for tax crimes. QC race track only one of its kind in the U. Editorial: Tamping down fire retardants. Letter: Pension reform will cost taxpayers. Letter: Thanks to Pritchard for pension vote. SBA ready to assist Illinois residents affected by severe storms. Quotes of the week. Jim Dey: Local Dems have a lot on the line in March primary. My Sunday column is ready for you! Who should we support for Governor of Illinois?

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There is no easy answer. Pat Quinn is against us on pensions and on many other educational issues. Of the Republicans, Rauner is barely one and would abolish our pension system and much of public education. That leaves Kirk Dillard and Dan Rutherford, and third party candidates. When it was Quinn versus Brady before, I could not vote for either of them, but it is true that a third party vote is a wasted vote in that it will not elect someone else as Governor.

Governor, State Rep. When Dan Rutherford was a legislator he was NOT supportive of our issues, and once would not even discuss he angrily walked away an important special education matter. Although Rutherford could not vote on SB 1, he said all the right things against it. We need a new Governor. This election is too important to all of us. We should consider taking a Republican ballot in the March primary even if some of us would be doing that for the very first time , unless there is a crucial Democratic race in the primary such as a Democrat running against a Democrat who vote for SB 1.

At this time, who would you support? We really need to make some hard decisions and support someone who could be the next Governor. Difference of opinion: Local legislators discuss pension reform measure — Naperville Sun. Harness racing: Illinois racing in peril due to financing issue.

Durkin: Forget politics, move the state in the right direction — WLS. Deadbeat Illinois imperils special education. Pensions: Sad Detroit dilemma. Unions, soured by pension vote, may leave Quinn, other pols off …. Forum: Public pension reform is wrong, illegal, immoral. Democratic Politics and Illinois Catholics. Property tax rates skyrocket in Illinois, 2nd-highest in U. Lawmaker seeks to reduce plane noise by airports — cbs4qc. Tougher Illinois laws on driver phone use signed and effective in Who started pension problems?

Jackson County has reports of over a foot of. CarolMarin: Compromise is not for the faint of heart! New law for meningitis vaccinations. Email just received from We Are One Illinois: Some politicians and other supporters of pension-slashing Senate Bill 1 are spreading misinformation to justify their bad positions on the bill. Click here to view them. Thanks for all you do. New pension law not in spirit of state constitution. Bill Clinton came from Arkansas. We freed school districts from the stranglehold of collective bargaining rules — allowing them, for example, to buy health insurance on the open market and hire and fire teachers based on merit for the first time.

School districts across Wisconsin have saved tens of millions of dollars, money they have used to offset state spending cuts and improve education, instead of closing schools and laying off teachers. Property taxes dropped for the first time in over a decade. Unemployment is down. Our bond rating is solid. And we did it all while avoiding tax increases, cuts to programs like Medicaid, and mass layoffs of teachers and public workers. You could do the same in Illinois.

Bad week in Lincolnland — Illinois Education Association. Pension ruling could take years. McDonoughVoice: U. Durbin tours Macomb Transit Center. Business Association Christmas open house in Jerseyville tonight. Great event tonight discussing why IL should not change from a flat tax to progressive tax state. An international controversy. Some of us have already had that helpless feeling this year.

There are people prepared to take us where we need to go, no matter what the weather outside, but even they are preparing for mechanical problems. Politicians convened task forces and promised additional funding and new laws. Illinois hospitals are being recruited to join an effort focused on the quality of surgical care. The budget bill the U. House passed overwhelmingly on Thursday will need at least a little Republican support in order to win Senate approval, a Democratic leader says.

Medical marijuana goes live in Illinois Jan. I am writing to express my opinion about the importance of physical education in our schools. They spend too much time staring at some sort of screen. Because our youth are not active at home or in their free time, they need some sort of physical activity is at school. Judges to hear arguments in Blagojevich appeal: Imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Drones fighting terrorists overseas. Drones delivering packages like Amazon. Now, drones are being used as a tool for …. Posted on December 12, by Jeanne Ives. Louis soon will have a different option.

Missouri and Illinois officials …. A raffle will begin in January to assist with the new scholarship. For …. Latino groups want the Illinois attorney general to investigate a nutritional supplement company for being a pyramid …. With Illinois officials mulling whether to raise speed limits in much of metro Chicago, the Tribune analysis reinforces earlier studies that show suburban and ….

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The pension adjustments will save billions, but the state still will be …. In a twitter response to HuffPost blogger and Illinois environmental activist Will Reynolds, who called for the retirement of the state Office of Coal Development, …. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees will work in groups to act as legislators and decide. Play by play guys doing Illini game tonight have a…. Busy couple of days in By Amanda Vinicky. Enlarge image. But they can get some parts of the application ….

December 13, Close to , people work on factory floors across Illinois, but the number of jobs has been declining. The state hopes this program will …. Pat Quinn refused to debate the merits of a long-sought expansion of gambling in Illinois for months, saying lawmakers must first send …. The county land use department is recommending a day moratorium on marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas until the county zoning ordinance can be amended to address such operations.

Dan Biss and Reps. Elaine Nekritz and Darlene Senger. Subscribe to our newsletters. The Wichita Eagle welcomes your comments on news of the day. For further information please contact Debi by phone at Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford joined John and Amy with reaction to the pension reform deal, and the odds that it could survive a court battle. Zalewski D-Riverside fervently worked through a number of concerns about Senate Bill ….

One Illinois Democrat voted no and two others skipped the vote. The two who did not vote were Reps. A Johnson County Committee trying to ban fracking in the county turned in the signatures they needed to put a fracking ban referendum on the March 18th ballot. But each year, public …. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. AP — The Illinois Department of Corrections says an inmate serving a year sentence on a murder conviction plunged five stories to his death …. The Stateville Correctional Center inmate who fell to his death Thursday has been identified.

Supreme Court Director …. By Katherine Skiba, Chicago Tribune reporter … Chicago is among the first cities expected to receive money, but Emanuel declined to predict how much it could …. Skip Saviano, Rep. Joe Lyons tie. Susan Garrett Sen. Tom Johnson. Because the meters create turnover. Up to 50 percent of manufacturers automatically screen […]. The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in Illinois is small compared to the Hispanic population, but the growth of those businesses is nearly three times that of all other companies in the state, according to a study by a new entrepreneurial ….

Timeline PhotosDec. Hunters may also use a muzzleloader permit with a muzzleloader during the second firearm season on Dec. Please click for entire press release. IDNR says preliminary figures show hunters took a total of 74, deer during the firearm season. IL Concealed Carry Licenseccl4illinois.

If the phone do. I wish to strongly disagree with the Pantagraph editorial of Dec. Although I am a businessman and generally support governmental policies that aid business and marketing enterprises, I am mildly taken aback at the possibility that Archer Daniels Midland is a…. Online Staff Report U. Kinzinger will visit agencies across the 16th District in an effort to raise awareness of the important work being done to help families struggling to make ends meet these winter mont.

Click here for site info. Access will be from the front or Filbert Lane off Patrol Road. Aetna Inc. The commission approved three separate resolutions, all backing Illiana. Grundy County will be giving its employees the holiday gift of extra days off with pay. The value of those paid holidays for about emplo. Three DuPage County candidates, including two seeking countywide seats, could be kicked off the March primary ballot if residents opposing their candidacies can prove mistakes were made on their nomination papers. Laurance H. Freed and Caroline Walters of Joseph Freed and Associates were accused of lying about and concealing unpaid property taxe.

The Chicago Transit Authority will host their first ever memorabilia auction beginning Thursday and lasting one week. Louis-area power plants. Louis County and Jefferson and Franklin counties are spewing particulate matter into the air, contributing to asthma, heart attacks and premat. Five Illinois bus companies — including four in the Chicago area and another that provides daily transportation for college students — are among 52 carriers that have been shut down by federal regulators nationwide, officials with the U.

Department of Transportation announced. NBC5 Investigates found the local companies have been cited for such violations as ignored warning lights, vehicle ma. Republican lawmakers in Missouri will try again next year to restore caps on damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits. Driving back up to Chicago this morning for meetings and a slew of holiday parties tonight. Looking forward to seeing DanLobbies. Stopped by faithinplace breakfast this morning in Champaign and also ran into my friends from the ieanea. Editorial: We have a problem with Xadrian R.

Home-schooled kids got back to nature and learned about the oceans Wednesday in a special class at the Peoria Zoo. Blog: I posted names of the 10 charters CPS already approved to open fall Illiana tollway gets green light; Ind. A choo choo boo boo at Christmastime?

State Sen. Bill Brady will have the top ballot spot in the March 18 primary for governor, due to a lottery conducted Wednesday at the State Board of Elections. Shake up Springfiled. Bring back Illinois. Vote for your favorite HammerAndShake video here: To learn more visit. That is not acceptable. Every single one of. Questionable tracking of lottery fundswww. There are both facts and misinformation being circulated about the impact of pension reform law passed by the General Assembly earlier this month.

We have some answers for you. Please share. Top 14 New Laws: Every year in Springfield, the legislature passes hundreds of new laws. Some of these new laws might change what you do each day or present new opportunities for safety, security or other enhancements for you or your loved ones. Please review a few of these new laws to see what they may offer you. This can be done in person at the Disaster Recovery Center Festival Building, East Peoria , by phone at , or online at disasterassistance. All effected persons should do this regar. Quite soon, it wi.

After months of negotiations the Conf. After nearly a year away from home, members of a Peoria-based Army National Guard unit are expected to be home for Christmas. This holiday season we are grateful for all the men and women currently serving our nation in the U. Peoria-based guard unit expected home before Christmaswww. Stay warm out there today! Nearly 65 percent of participating school district superintendents believe state funding for education is poor or in need of improvement, according to an online survey that wi.

Call the office for more information. To the hundreds of residents in the 19th District that I have had the pleasure to talk to and for those who have sent messages, we appreciate your feedback. We also encourage you to call the office and set up an appointment if you have further questions. Our office number is You can email us at district19 senatorhastings. For a lot of us, the holiday season is a time where we count our blessings and enjoy our time with family, friends and neighbors. It is also a time where we should remember that there are those in our community that may be struggling through rough times with issues ranging.

Last call inviting all to a great discussion tonight on a critical issue- the pitfalls of the proposed progressive income tax. Escape the cold and snow this weekend with a family outing to the beautiful Patio Theater. Hot cocoa and cider in the lobby. Contact me with questions. The Illinois State Police has launched the website to apply for a concealed carry license. Check it out below. Our families and residents are safe and warm in a loving, caring, small village inside the city limits of Centralia that they can call home.

All effected persons should do this regardless of. Protecting our childrensenatorhunter. The headlines lie. By Benjamin Yount Illinois Watchdog. On Nov. The Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging everyone 6 months and … local health departments, health clinics, pharmacies and other health care …. It said it will conduct a search …. Ameren has about 1. Hudson has served on the ICGA board for …. WBEZIndiana planning group signs off on Illiana CorridorChicago TribuneIllinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said much work remains over the next year to complete planning and start soliciting bids from private investors who would partner with the state.

More than people jammed a park building in Portage for …Illiana tollway gaining speed; planning panel approves first of three …. Conroy to hold coffee talk, open house next weekSuburban Life PublicationsDeb Conroy will host two local events next week in Villa Park. Tuesday at Funky Java, 40 S.

Villa Ave. The event will provide constituents an opportunity to speak with Conroy. Conroy will also …Rep. The Illinois Green Fleets …. Sorry about the abrupt start. The …. Please join us whenever you can in making individual donations…. According to State Senator Sue Rezin, there may be a misunderstanding about….

By Nancy Thorner — Part 3: Application Of Common Core Should Raise Your Dander Although not happening in all school districts throughout Illinois at the same time or to the same degree, several similar practices have being reported in school…. From his e-mails… Paid circulators last night at Best Buy in Springfield working the line for term limit petitions. Following Brady — a member of the state Senate from Bloomington and the Republican gubernatorial nominee — […]. Though a proponent of many education reforms taking place in Illinois, Stewart said changes are occurring too quickly, contributing to emotional stresses ….

Physicians Immediate Care announced the grand opening of its first clinic in Kendall County, providing Oswego residents a convenient solution to their urgent and unexpected health care needs. The new 3, square-foot clinic at Route 34 in front o. Hopes to strengthen the Republican majority in the U. House rest with ten nationwide races, and in Illinois….

Jennifer Gill has been selected to be the next superintendent of Springfield Public Schools — District , pending contract negotiations. Board to enter into contract negotiations with Gillwww. Gill, 44, is a Springfield resident who serves as t. The pensions that government workers receive in Illinois are often based upon more years of service than these employees actually worked. She is percent dedicated and loyal. Meanwhile, middle-class families continue struggling through a […].

This comes after a survey called for by Lt. Gov Sheila Simon D. Following an oversight hearing yesterday held by the Senate Environment and … U.

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After a year of frustrating setbacks for immigration reform activists, Senate … met with the Illinois Democrat on the National Mall Wednesday, a Durbin aide said, …. Two Democratic incumbents were the only candidates running for Illinois state … Biss sits on the committees of Licensed Activities and Pensions, Education, …. Miller, who is a Republican on the St. Clair County Board thought it had something to do with county business.

He opened it up…. By Samantha Bomkamp Tribune reporter. CST, December 12, Laurance Freed, a prominent Chicago real estate developer best known for the …. By Brian L. Cox Special to the Tribune. Lawmakers in Illinois may have agreed on pension reform, but one analyst says … The measure signed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn does several things, …. There is only good and …. The survey is required by statute and asks superintendents to evaluate the Illinois State Board of Education and the Regional Offices of Education.

A total of …. Maybe reopen some prisons, and pray for Bruce Rauner to win. City Council Office of Financial Analysis is a critical reform and something the taxpayers of Chicago absolutely need. Before making its decision, the new company sought tax incentives from both states. A tax incentive bill passed the Illinois Senate … Continuing to give some big employers major tax breaks while not doing the same for others is not a viable ….

Or is that the sound of one hand clapping for Congress? Dial back one year, to December For lack of a deal on federal debt and deficits, Congress lurched toward the so-called fiscal cliff. This year, Illinois was ranked 30th for overall health. But even more telling, the state was ranked the 44th. Take a close look at that image of Pope Francis on the cover of Time Magazine— a Chicagoan created it. The village of Grayslake has joined with the village of Barrington in a nationwide effort to urge tougher new safety standards for rail tank cars that carry hazardous liquids such as crude oil and ethanol.

The influential Democrat also said in a statement Wednesday he wants to review how…. Blagojevich was arrested five years ago this week; he is serving a year prison sentence for plotting to use his official actions as Governor to enrich himself personally. All those blue United Center signs can stay right where they are. The home of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks is going to keep its name for a long time. Packed house for our event in Quincy. Thank you to all are supporters who braved the cold to help makeILworkagain! Attended the QuadCities Chamber of Commerce gubernatorial candidate forum this morning.

GOP Christmas Party tonight! Tom Wolf IL. WhiteSox baseball!! Attended the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce gubernatorial candidate forum this morning. IDOT officials …. With a quick vote of Illinois lawmakers and the swipe of a pen by Gov. Chicago Public Schools unveiled Wednesday a comprehensive black studies program that will be rolled out at its schools next month, officials said.

The program …. By Hal Dardick, Chicago Tribune reporter. December 12, The Chicago City Council had barely finished giving the Cubs additional freedom to expand …. North Shore Congressman favors spending plan creating certainty through September of Schneider sponsored legislation helping Israel gets unanimous House approval. A furious legal battle already has commenced, even before the unions file their promised legal challenge.

It will only grow louder in coming months as the court decides whether to uphold or toss out the pension-reform package adopted last week by Illinois la. For the first time since Bill Clinton was president — at least — the Chicago Republican Party is contesting many seats in the Illinois General Assembly that come from the city proper. The party today is formally unveiling a group of 18 candidates for the Illinois Legislature who have filed nominating petitions to run in one Senate and 15 House districts.

There are even multiple contenders in a coup. Timing was my good fortune because my first year of covering high school sports for the Daily Herald was their senior year at Elgin High School, and what a year …. David Leitch for the Republican nomination in a sprawling district that runs from roughly Northmoor Road in Peoria all the way north to near Interstate But two …. Emanuel will stop eating to show his solidarity with. Long-time 30th District State Sen. Tim Martin, Illinois Department of Transportation secretary, refused to make promises that he knows state and federal ….

AP — Illinois is spending only about 7 percent of what federal officials say it should on …. Or morally ok, but incompetent? There aren't many charitable interpretations I can make for the situation. More specifically, it lets school districts offer paid leaves of absence to teachers who vacate their classroom positions to work for the union, while NYSUT reimburses the district for the officers' salaries and benefits.

Therefore, officers could eventually be earning time toward both—a benefit former NYSUT president Richard Iannuzzi said is inappropriate. An existing law allowed officers in local teachers unions to continue accruing time toward their public pensions, but the language was unclear as to whether the same benefit applied to officers of NYSUT, a statewide organization.

This was a technical bill that added the statewide organization. The city pension fund for firefighters is financed at only DePasquale said during an announcement at City Hall. The police and nonuniform pension accounts are only slightly healthier, he said. Scranton has become toxic to lenders because of its fiscal instability, and Mr. DePasquale said the city could be pressed into bankruptcy within five years. DePasquale said. But I'm sure they're happier now that the insolvency is official. Several police officers who stood by and watched as protesters stormed into the building, vandalized it and allegedly assaulted city councillors could face disciplinary sanctions as well, according to Parent.

The municipal employees, who were protesting a proposed overhaul of their pension plan, were subpoenaed Friday and face assault, mischief and illegal assembly charges. Police officers are also protesting the pension reform. About 12 officers have been interviewed and could be sanctioned. More officers will go before a disciplinary committee.

These metrics are widely accepted in the field and useful when trying to determine the overall risk to a fund, but they are only a few indicators of many and can be misleading when presented on their own. Before I get to a rating, I want to make one thing absolutely clear. Just because an investment strategy is risky, or its money managers are employing strategies that are popularly believed to be more risky, that does not inherently mean it is unwise. Seabrook, a former Democratic city councilman who is serving a five-year prison term in a corruption case.

And it said it is seeking to locate assets, including pension money, to satisfy forfeiture orders against two other convicted Democratic politicians — Hiram Monserrate, a former New York City councilman and state senator, and Sandy Annabi, a former Yonkers councilwoman. That rate of return significantly trails the median rate of return for pension systems of similar size across the country, based on data provided to the International Business Times by the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service.

Meanwhile, the pension investment strategy that Raimondo began putting in place in has delivered big fees to Wall Street firms. The one-two punch of below-median returns and higher fees has cost Rhode Island taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, according to pension analysts. Other states such as New Jersey and North Carolina follow similar strategies -- and have also generated below-average returns after plowing pension money into high-fee investments.

And in Rhode Island, as in New Jersey and North Carolina, the political leaders pushing to put more money into so-called alternative investments have been backed by campaign contributions from the financial industry. According to Politifact, Providence now has less of its portfolio in hedge funds than does the Rhode Island government. Those were audited by an independent firm. Attempts by city officials to amend the rules were unsuccessful, and the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board ordered the benefits to continue.

The relief plans support firefighters and police officers hired after July 8, The city has made payments as scheduled. We had asked for expense reimbursements, among other documents, which the CTA plan refused to provide until the Better Government Association filed suit. This litigation is in the process of being settled. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and that one of the CTA pension trustees was soliciting donations for a un ion charity from pension advisers. That isn't the outrage.

As an arbitrator wrote, the city's case against Frank Ranzie was weak. The outrage is that Ranzie retired one day after his reinstatement and will collect a pension that is not only higher than his salary but much higher. Ranzie is He spent 26 years with the department. If he predeceases his wife, she will keep collecting that benefit, having done no work for Boynton Beach.

Cities have responded in several ways. Palm Beach took the extreme approach of abolishing its defined-benefit public safety pension plan and implementing a k -style defined contribution plan. Mass resignations followed, but the town council didn't budge. Other cities have put new hires into the state retirement systems. In most cases, though, cities have done what Fort Lauderdale did: negotiate with the union. That means negotiating all the entitlements that make public safety pensions much more lucrative than those in the private sector.

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For example, most fire and police pensions have annual cost-of-living adjustments that are fixed, not tied to the rate of inflation. Some police officers and firefighters can retire after just 20 years of service. State law allows police and firefighters to use up to hours of overtime to calculate pension benefits. Some cities don't permit use of overtime. Boynton Beach does, which is how Ranzie can make more as a retiree than as a sergeant. Sure enough, the city's contract proposal to the union includes many changes.

Among them: no more use of overtime to figure benefits; using the highest two years of salary to figure benefits, not the highest five; a decrease in the cost-of-living adjustment; a reduction in the "multiplier," which with years of service determines the level of benefits. Delray Beach has yet to make its offer, but Mayor Cary Glickstein says the city must pay police officers more when they are working and less when they are retired. Meanwhile, the Boynton Beach City Commission this week approved an offer to the three police bargaining units that may end nearly a yearlong impasse.

But Boynton's offer covers only wages. City Manager Lori LaVerriere sees pension reform as a new, two-year fight. Given the Ranzie case, failure to enact those reforms would be outrageous. And yet it remains stuck with one unreconstructed, bankruptcy-what-bankruptcy money pit: pensions, managed by CalPERS, the state pension system. And what are these 99 categories? A few examples: Clerks who type well. Cops who shoot straight. Which, in turn, means even a fiscally born-again city such as Stockton has to fork over higher pensions.

Consequently it can afford fewer cops, firefighters, road fixes, etc. Pensions: eating cities alive, one bite at a time. CalPERS says it was just bringing clarity to a pension reform act enacted in And its bearing on job categories long on the books. The governor shepherded reform that curbed pension spiking. And to cities. This by far is the city's biggest debt. CalPERS insists the city cannot lighten it even in bankruptcy. A couple years ago the city projected pensions will account for up to City Hall will be a public safety retirement system with a sideline in city government.

As for the asset side the use of actuarial value instead of market as the official asset value is one lie but, in New Jersey anyway after examining in detail the value of Alternative Investments, it looks like they are also doing some more blatant lying that they get away with because they expect everybody to trust them and the professionals they buy. The NJ Investment Council puts audited financial reports on their website wherein they list the Fair Value of Alternative Investments in the last few pages though they do not make it easy to do comparisons since they do not provide book values and everything is in pdf format.

You would have to get a good pdf extractor program and spend a few hours manipulating the excel spreadsheet to get some idea of the duplicity. Research carried out on behalf of the charity shows ABP and eight other pension funds are investing in the production of intensively-reared chicken and pigs as well as battery eggs. That false peace won't last. Both incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn and GOP challenger Bruce Rauner barely mentioned the issue in appearances during a recent Metropolitan Planning Council luncheon, one of the few joint events and debates the two are likely to make before Election Day.

Anyone who was tucking into dessert at the time probably missed most of it. Each man has reason to avoid the subject because neither has a complete solution. To put it bluntly, pension reform is not only the elephant in the room but the beast that tramples the walls and maybe the candidates, too.

Voters deserve some clear answers about what each would do. Quinn, of course, backed legislation to revamp the state's retirement system in a way that, he says, would guarantee reduced but still healthy benefits while providing full funding over the next 30 years. He also signed into law a measure pushed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel that would revamp two of the city's four unfunded pension plans. And he supported an earlier bill that reduced benefits and hiked contributions for anyone who joined the state payroll after Jan. But Mr. Quinn's problem is that the Illinois Supreme Court, in a case dealing with retiree health insurance, recently signaled that it might well toss out all but the law as unconstitutional.

Asked at the Aug. Quinn replied that he'd roll up his sleeves and get busy. Not entirely reassuring, is it? Rauner's pension problem is bigger. He actively worked against the state pension overhaul, saying it was inadequate. Instead, he wants to shift all workers to a k -style, defined-contribution system. The bolded change increases costs and facilitates spiking.

The top 25 performing funds over a year annualized period had an average allocation of 29 percent to alternatives, according to Cliffwater. By comparison, the average allocation to alternatives was 25 percent for all public pension funds. Last year, state pension funds added another 1 percent to alternatives, mostly moving money from fixed-income.

Of course, why did they need alternatives then, when they had their AAA-rated structured securities filling out their bond portfolios? And regular equities were going great guns? A couple of lowlights from the list: 4. Missouri State Employees Retirement System year annualized return: 8. Its website says that its alternative allocation Including 4 percent holdings in natural resources, that puts alternative assets at roughly 34 percent.

Look like this one will be seventh Look, it's not like all alternatives are dodgy, but one wonders about the investment discipline of some of these funds. We also want to see a focus on the long term. On one side, the funds say they care about the long term and the implications for their state. Mergers for tax inversion can prop up share prices of the acquirers and clearly help pension funds, at least in the short term, show improved performance. Ah, desperation for returns trumps all right now. Who cares about the future?

As unfunded pension liabilities rise, financially stressed local governments seek to move employees toward k -type retirement systems to get out from under crippling long-term commitments, but public employee unions fight to maintain their defined-benefit plans. As the municipal landscape becomes more fiscally precarious, public employees might want to rethink the traditional strategy. Guaranteeing all previously promised pension payouts in return for substantial concessions from new hires is an approach that a number of cities have used to ease their pension problems.

Lexington, Ky. And even if those Detroit retirees see their pensions cut and COLAs eliminated, they'll still make out better than new city workers. After 30 years, those new employees' pensions are projected to be worth about 40 percent less in inflation-adjusted dollars than those of city workers who retired in The problem with this approach is that future public employees are the ones who would be most hurt by it, and they're not represented when the agreements are being negotiated. Unfunded pension liabilities are one of the main reasons why municipal finances have become so precarious in recent years, and moving to defined-contribution plans would ease the fiscal pressure on cities.

While the switch might not be the first choice for many employees of the nation's most troubled municipalities, it's a lot better than facing unilateral benefit cuts after they've already retired or as they near retirement. But for municipalities facing pension woes that are serious but not yet at the crisis stage, it's tempting to solve the problem by shifting the burden to future employees who have no voice in current negotiations.

That option isn't fair and would make the already formidable task of attracting and retaining top-flight public workers even harder in the future. If we catch you, you pay back what you stole maybe withheld from pension but the rest of your pension is still intact. Now if we don't catch you, it's a win win. For you. It is that they went to the wrong conferences where the hell are the right conferences anyhow?

If the workers have merited these various salary enhancements, then it is part of their earned compensation and should be pensionable. The problem, if there is one -- and one suspects there is -- is in their earned compensation. Well, it wasn't that long ago Calpers was crowing about the money it lost on green investments. Not so much, now. It is true that they are not represented. But, in another sense, they represent themselves as they accept the job.

Instead of saying that future workers are paying for today's shortfalls, why don't we say that they are first generation not to be overcompensated by mispriced by guess whom? I think it will be fixed with all services being privatized. Yeah, because it is working so well in prisons. It doesn't come up much with her prison stories. Pension costs for municipalities and the state will drop more than 9 percent in the fiscal year, the biggest decline in five years, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced Tuesday.

The announcement is good news for local governments who have grappled with soaring pension costs in recent years because of pension system losses on Wall Street and more retirees tapping into the system. Pension costs are also set to drop slightly for the fiscal year, which starts April 1. Speaking as a NY taxpayer: woo I just wrote a whopper of a property tax check I have 3 I have to write through the year how long will this last.

Absolutely nothing! The reality is U. In fact, while I am in the camp that the Fed did the right thing to move quickly and forcefully to lower interest rates to zero and engage in quantitative easing, I was also conflicted because it was a dead giveaway to banks and the alternative investment industry. Importantly, ZIRP is a boon for the alternative investment industry and big banks collecting big fees from hedge funds and private equity funds. But if the Fed didn't lower interest rates to zero and engage in QE, it would have been a disaster for the global economy, virtually ensuring a protracted period of virulent deflation and high and unacceptable unemployment.

Public pension funds have a role to play on the bloated compensation of U. Sadly, everyone is staying mum on these issues because discussing inequality is perceived as being "anti-American," which is total bullocks! Ah, he gives himself away here. The proper term is "bollocks", Leo! He joins just a handful of state governors to be convicted on felony charges, not all whom were incarcerated.

McDonnell will have his license to practice law removed once the Virginia State Bar receives notice of his felony convictions. There is also chance that he could lose his pension, due to a law he signed into effect in The legislation states that retirement benefits are forfeited upon certain felony convictions. This means that McDonnell could lose the pensions he earned while serving as an Army Reserves lieutenant colonel, Virginia Attorney General, and as a lawmaker in the House of Delegates.

I love a story with a happy ending. His plan called for renegotiating existing contracts with police, firefighter and other unions with the goal of lowering health care and pension costs and starting salaries and slowing how quickly staff can rise to the top salary. On Aug. The money would be distributed to districts, but not charter schools, on a prorated basis.

AP — Illinois' pension liability as a percentage of state revenue is far and away the nation's highest, a major credit-rating agency says in a new report. The report averaged the Illinois percentage from through Lawmakers adopted an overhaul plan last fall that cuts benefits and increases worker contributions to significantly cut that debt. Several larger states, similar to Illinois, are well below the median and rank in the 10 lowest percentages of adjusted net pension liability, including Ohio, Florida and New York.

The group also includes Illinois neighbors Iowa and Wisconsin — the latter having the lowest level next to Nebraska. Adjusted net pension liability is a calculation Moody's uses to "achieve greater comparability and transparency" by recalculating state and local net pension liabilities based on a market-determined discount rate and the market value of assets. The idea behind pension obligation bonds is actually pretty simple. Instead of the state funding its pensions, it borrows from the public by issuing bonds and uses the borrowed money to fund the pension, with the pension then investing the proceeds.

Whether that works out depends, at least in part, on whether interest the state pays on the borrowed money exceeds the returns the money earns on the investments the pension makes. Last week the Civic Federation issued a report about whether that worked out, comparing the returns the pensions made on that borrowed money to the interest paid. In seven of the ten years since that bond issuance the returns exceeded that interest, but the state lost money in the other three, according to that report.

Unfortunately, the Civic Federation did not quantify that in dollars. You really need to have those dollar numbers to see whether the good years cancelled out the bad years. Well, sure enough, some of the supporters of that bond offering went to a reporter with their numbers showing how smart they had been — a reporter they figured would probably be sympathetic to borrowing to fund pensions. Markets have good years and bad years. As any number of experts said when the bonds were issued, they are a dice roll.

He promptly signed on. Eleven years later, Mr. Filan's idea—which won bipartisan support from a wide range of folks who'd rather not talk about it now—was to gamble that the state could borrow at one interest rate and invest the proceeds at a higher rate see the PDF. He considered the gamble worth it, since at that time both borrowing rates and the stock market were at low levels. The hoped-for spread, arbitrage, would be pure profit. The state's timing was exquisite. Over the next four years, according to figures supplied by Mr.

Filan that others verified, the average return on investments by the state's pension funds was Those returns were well above the average 5. The pension funds built up such a cushion that the POB money was even at the depths of the recession, and it has come back strong since. Filan, now a senior consultant at Chicago-based financial restructuring firm Development Specialists Inc.

And the retirement systems, though still underfunded, have If Rick Scott is re-elected, you can expect a renewed push to move more public workers out of the traditional pension plan and into a k -type plan, currently an optional plan in the retirement system. It was under Scott that public workers began making an annual 3 percent contribution to the state retirement fund in The positive returns on the pension fund for the fiscal year that ended in June will bolster the argument that change is not needed.

Last week Carlyle Group was the last private equity to settle, having been accused of conspiring to depress the purchase price of a series of buyout deals. According to the lawsuit, the PE firms agreed among themselves to limit the competition and bidding on the buyouts of Freescale Semiconductor, HCA, Kindermorgen and host of other deals. As I wrote in my original post, the complaint read like a press release rather a legal document. The plaintiffs who brought this case demonstrate the conflict borne by large pension plans.

However, the big pension plans also had a massive conflict of interest. Almost every one of them had and still has two or more relationships with the defendants. Under normal circumstance, a pension plan would want to achieve the highest possible price for its shares in the sale of a company.

As a result, the big pensions had to sit out this litigation. Tommy Meagher, secretary and treasurer of the pension fund's governing board, said the firefighters are willing to refinance the city's obligations in creative ways to help lower the monthly payments going forward. He explained that the board had agreed to stretch the city's future pension obligations over 30 years rather than He also said the board is willing to extend "pension smoothing," an accounting strategy that lets the fund's actuary predict higher interest rates when calculating the fund's future investment returns. Essentially, if the fund can show it will earn more on its investments down the road, the city can pay less to the fund each month.

The public approved. The pension overhaul is now at the center of a primary race for governor that has become one of the most divisive in the country. I expect to have a lot more election-related pension stuff over the next two months. Under Grossman, Goldberg noted that Massachusetts pension funds garnered a Conroy said he would work to identify underperforming pension funds and said he would develop a an investment strategy document that also outlines the values guiding investment decisions.

He said he would work to reduce fees associated with investing. Finegold said at least 10 percent of pension funds should be invested back into the commonwealth, noting that the state compare poorly on that count compared to other states including California and Wisconson. Finegold said he would also work to reduce management fees for pension accounts. Also from the report: "Which employees benefit most from the plan depends arbitrarily on when they joined and how long they worked.

But it's not true for everyone. Are workers who stay with the state for 35 years really more productive than people who stay on for just 25 or 30 years? But isn't this what a lot of DB pensions are like? This is not special to PA, right? A number of top asset managers and economists have predicted market returns below historic averages for the coming years, and CalSTRS has chosen to confront that possibility head-on. During their next meeting in November, Ailman and the investment committee are set to undertake a close review of their options for mitigating drawdown risk amid the frothy market—and, by extension, the risk of a shortfall.

Denise Nappier has been our State Treasurer for the last 16 years. In virtually every category that ranks Connecticut's fiscal health, we are dead last. Red flags continue to be waved regarding the underfunding of the state employees' pension fund. In , when Ms. Nappier was elected, the employee pension fund was funded at 59 percent. Last June, the bond rating agency Fitch assessed Connecticut's fiscal health with a negative outlook primarily due to Fitch's assessment of the funding level of the state employee pension at a woefully low 38 percent.

She assumes a rate of return on our pension investments in excess of eight percent. Michael Bloomberg recently called such a rate of return completely indefensible. This is true considering the federal government requires a rate of return assumption of four to five percent for private companies with pension plans. Over the past few years, cities all across our nation have faced bankruptcy because of these very same problems. An independent assessment by Northwestern University has concluded that the pension fund could go bankrupt by if we don't make meaningful reform.

On top of this glaring problem with our pension funds, over the last four years, our borrowing has more than doubled. I do not want the State of Connecticut to become another Stockton, California. You cannot propose a cure to our pension and borrowing problems if you are untruthful about the diagnosis. State Treasurer Denise Nappier is not being honest with the legislature, not being honest with our pensioners and not being honest with the taxpayers as to the magnitude of the problem and our true unfunded liability.

A majority of the county pension board has authorized a lawsuit against the county seeking to allow the pension agency to set pay for its employees, a responsibility that now rests with county supervisors. We have no informed opinion on the legal issues involved. But it is difficult to think of a government body with a weaker case when it comes to seeking more autonomy.

Since Lee Partridge took over as lead investment strategist in , the pension agency has often seemed like a circus. In and again this year, the pension board approved a series of potentially risky investments — most notably leveraging its assets to allow the agency to make far more investments than it could afford under normal policies.

Have these machinations paid off? It needs adult supervision. In a tentative ruling, federal U. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury said San Bernardino was entitled to unilaterally impose benefit cuts on the city's firefighters, something their union had fiercely opposed. Jury conceded that the cuts, which involve greater pension contributions by firefighters and reduction in overtime, were a hardship on the firefighters.

But she said the city had also been persuasive in showing that what it had been paying in terms of benefits to the firefighters was a financial burden, and being able to reject the firefighters' collective bargaining agreement was a key step to forming a bankruptcy exit plan. Local 4 has learned the city's general pension, which is grossly underfunded, is now at the center of a class-action lawsuit.

Gabriel Roeder Smith and Co. The class-action suit Detroit retirees are looking for money from the actuarial company outside of the bankruptcy. The retirees said Gabriel Roeder helped cause the mess "by negligently, willfully, recklessly, wantonly and repeatedly committing gross errors and failing to exercise due care and skill in providing actuarial services to the plan, and in failing to promptly discover and disclose those errors to the trustees, defendant Gabriel Roeder breached its duties to the plan.

The defendant's conduct has reportedly already resulted in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars of the plan's funds and damages continue to mount. In our judgment, they are based upon a complete misunderstanding of our role in serving our clients. We intend to vigorously defend against these charges and are confident that we will prevail. Oh, all right. Does it make sense for local governments to turn over the assets of their employee pension plans to insurance companies, who would in turn make monthly payments to retirees? That is the idea at the heart of a bill touted by Sen.

Orrin Hatch R-Utah for more than a year. After reviewing the plan, the research organization gave the idea its top grade, saying it eliminates a troublesome financial risk for state and local governments, protects workers who change jobs frequently, and rewards young workers--all while providing a steady stream of income for retirees. I read the whole thing and I still don't see how it's supposed to fix anything. There are some crucial details missing, such as: are pension benefits going to get cut to the level current assets can buy?

Reserving and capital requirements for annuities are way way higher even than the new GASB rules. Switching to insurance companies providing annuities with minimum guarantees does not fix the underfunding problem. The board is an independent organization that establishes standards for state and local government financial reporting. The board recommended governments account for and report post-employment benefits besides pension liabilities, such as health care, the same way they do for pension liabilities. The board concluded that these non-pension benefits are a form of compensation such as salaries and pensions, promised to employees in exchange for their present services and thus should be included.

But in Ohio, retirement medical coverage is not guaranteed by state pension systems. State law allows pension systems to offer medical insurance, but there is no legal obligation to employers beyond the employer pension contribution. Yost noted in his written testimony that Ohio's pension systems choose to fund medical care through established contributions.

Yost said the proposed rule requires employers to record a liability they have no control over and, in Ohio, a liability state retirement systems have no duty to ever provide. With the U. Lesson No. For most voters, Democratic and Republican alike, pensions are not a third-rail issue -- if only because relatively few people are personally affected. Moreover, most Democrats -- like most Americans -- do not have pensions. Many, if they have any retirement savings, have k accounts. Past politicians, not current workers, are to blame for offering benefits that proved unaffordable.

Voters rightly support and respect teachers, police officers, firefighters, social workers and others who have chosen to make a career of public service. They were securities issued by banks and management companies and available only in private offerings to a limited number of institutional investors, including the pension system. Only after all three went bankrupt in and , CalPERS said, did investors learn that the products' assets consisted largely of high-risk subprime mortgages.

The suit also alleged that the rating agencies' fee agreements had a built-in bias, entitling them to full fees only if they issued passing grades. The credit agencies denied negligence and claimed the suit violated their freedom of speech and interfered with federal authority to regulate investment-grading companies.

A state appeals court rejected those arguments in May and allowed the suit to proceed.

The Chicago Tribune

Chris Christie who is in charge of the agency that oversees pension investments. Chiang said he especially was concerned by the practice at 97 local agencies of fattening a worker's final year's pay when the collective bargaining agreement calls for the agency to pay both the employer's and the employee's share of the total pension contribution. The benefit, which is no longer available to people hired after Jan.

CalPERS in a formal response said it has no discretion to prevent such legal spiking when the local agency has complied with the law. Moreover, it argued that a discussion of the particular benefit was "outside the stated scope of the audit. Nice touch. The Controller Chiang is saying that the EPMC employer-paid member contribution program increases pensionable earnings, and thus can be construed as spiking. That would be the case if pensionable earnings were defined as earnings net of member contributions.

That would be very surprising to me - normally, pensionable earnings are defined as earnings gross of member contributions regardless of whether the member contributions are 'picked up' - i. For retirees, that translated into an increase in monthly health insurance premiums in the 20 percent and 30 percent-range. On Friday, city retirees and their dependents got hit again — only this time, even harder.

Mr Hagerud joins in March next year. He said salaries should not be benchmarked against private sector companies but against other public authorities, such as the central bank, where pay is far less generous. Benchmarking salaries in this way would halve the pay for AP staff, according to those inside the funds. The AP funds were originally split into several smaller groups due to fears that one large scheme would become too dominant an investor in Sweden and too much of a political temptation.

The new formula of this bill, endorsed by the lawmakers at a joint session held on Thursday to resolve a dispute between the two chambers of Parliament, brought almost nothing new to the old version that was rejected. The deputies and senators endorsed a provision that sets a minimum of seven years of service in the post as an eligibility requirement applied to MPs, senators and ministers. In addition, the bill granted all lawmakers who were members of Parliament on May 20, and henceforth the same benefits.

This draft law is expected to renew the public outrage, amid budget strains, with a deficit estimated this year to hit JD1. In response, Rep. Shifting billions of dollars in pension obligations to our local schools would essentially create an unfunded mandate our local schools cannot afford. A recent Better Government Association investigation found the tentacles of the pension problem reaching far beyond Springfield and City Hall to suburban Cook County, where underfunded retirement accounts threaten numerous municipalities.

The countywide crisis has been building for years, caused, in part, by municipalities failing to adequately fund their pension programs on a regular basis. But numerous towns are paying the price for an understandable but reckless choice: Skipping annual contributions to their pension plans because it was more visible and politically beneficial to spend it on new parks, schools and infrastructure repairs voters can see.

South suburban Harvey is a good example. In order to go into effect next year, the revised IRS regulation would have put out for public comment by mid-October, which Jeff Fleck told a legislative interim committee is highly unlikely. Fleck said legislators may want to consider eliminating military service credits for future hires, or require employees to buy in to receive service credits. He said Maryland is the only other state that gives military service credits to public employees at no cost. Fleck also noted the state pension funds had a very good year in fiscal , with a Brooks McCabe, D-Kanawha, called on the Legislature to mandate pension smoothing in state retirement plans, to set aside surplus investment earnings in peak years to offset downturns.

Any shift it makes will likely influence others because of its size and history as an early adopter of alternatives to stocks and bonds. Many public pension plans have been discussing how much risk to take in their portfolios as they face billions in unfunded obligations to workers.

The decision, according to Calpers, wasn't based on the performance of the program, which earned 7. But hedge-fund allocations began dropping in the years following a peak, according to data compiled by the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service, while the average amount committed to private equity, by comparison, is still climbing. Stocks and bonds are still the dominant investments for all public pensions.

Average public-pension gains from hedge funds were 3.

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Oooh, thanks for that link These concerns have become more pronounced as performance across the hedge fund industry has disappointed investors. In , for example, the average hedge fund returned just 9. That compares with a The hedge fund investments returned just 7. For its hedge fund investments to have a material impact, Calpers would have to increase its hedge fund investments to at least 10 percent of its total portfolio, which was not a feasible option, according to Joe DeAnda, a spokesman for Calpers.

Early last July, U. Franklin contends that a ruling on pensions is needed to know whether all creditors are being fairly treated. Looking into this further, this does look like 'legal' spiking. This is my understanding of how this works I found the explanations somewhat confusing : The EPMC program is for all covered members at certain agencies. These employees don't pay employee contributions; the agency pays it for them. The employees receive special compensation that is not pensionable to keep their pension calculation the same as it would be if they made employee contributions I think.

This is California Government Code Section Under Section , however: A contracting agency or school employer that has elected to pay all or a portion of the normal contributions of members of a group or class of employment pursuant to Section , may, pursuant to a labor policy or agreement, stop paying those contributions during the final compensation period and instead increase the payrate of the members by the amount of employer paid member contributions EPMC.

This results in a higher average monthly payrate for the purpose of computing the member's retirement allowance. After a series of grossly irresponsible pension enhancements at the height of the stock market bubble, Calpers tried to make up for the shortfalls by using accounting gimmicks to lengthen the schedule of top-up contributions and pushing into riskier investments. Now the riskier investments have failed, and the accounting gimmicks were mostly based on the hope that the higher returns would bail Calpers out at some unspecified later date.

That leaves the California taxpayer with higher contributions. This has already become a problem with many state and local governments; expect it to become a problem for many more. It seems the fees and the complexity—two massive drawbacks of hedge funds which have always been known to CalPERS—are the reason for ending the program twelve years too late. CalPERS had better come up with a more believable explanation. Global warming? Californians would be well-advised to investigate the unprecedented emergence and elimination of this entire asset class at CalPERS, in my opinion.

The wreckage was clearly foreseeable and, indeed, foreseen by experts not party to the hedge fund daisy chain. Placement agents, investment consultants, fund managers, lawyers and others who played a role, should be held accountable. It seems many of the culprits are involved in similar scheming at other public pensions. These abuses are well-documented in my investigations into the Rhode Island and North Carolina state pensions, which were both filed as whistleblower complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission by state workers.

There is reason to believe regulators are on the verge of catching industry abuses that have grown ever-more egregious in the past decade. For public pension stakeholders, now is the time to get out of hedge funds. Hopefully, workers will find the money is still there. Both New York comptrollers stressed that only a small amount of their investments are tied up in hedge funds, however — only about 3. If he decides to maintain that target, he would actually have to move more money into hedge funds.

We have no current plans to recommend changes to this program. The city is estimating an annual return rate of 6. Several major financial creditors have objected to the new figure, saying it's artificially low and improperly allows the city to divert money to pensioners to make up for their funding shortfall. But Rhodes has telegraphed on several occasions that he believes Detroit has been making imprudent and unrealistic pension investment decisions and must stop.

Rhodes pressed Milliman's Perry to say whether 6. Perry responded: "Yes, that might be true. The failed investments include a luxury resort and vineyard in Napa County, Calif. They traveled to the Napa area more than any other out-of-state destination — making 45 trips there from to The losses were reported during a presentation by fund staffers and a fund consultant, William Criswell. The presentation did not specify the losses, but The Dallas Morning News tallied them from numbers that were provided and confirmed them afterward with fund officials.

Board members, looking grim, commented little but quizzed the presenters on various details. The poor results prompted the board this summer to oust longtime fund administrator Richard Tettamant. Luxury resort properties in the wine country of Napa County, Calif. Tettamant led the fund into these deals with little oversight from outside investment advisers.

Instead, he and his staff handled many of them personally. He met developers, who introduced him to other developers. But lately, he and other longtime board members have been digesting the hard lessons. Now Tomasovic stays mostly quiet at meetings as several City Council members, newcomers to the board, vocally push their colleagues toward more conservative investments.

Here is how the board is selected. My favorite campaign was one to increase the diversity on corporate boards, even as CalPERS has about the least diverse board one could imagine mostly aging white government workers. The solution is simple. The agency brags about recent great returns as proof that there is no need for pension reform. What can be wrong with that idea? Sullivan and his Democratic opponent, Sen.

The lawsuit accused the firm of an actuarial error in — six years before the financial crisis occurred in Also, there are other factors — not just the actuarial errors — that caused the pension shortfall. Pat Quinn argued Friday that it makes no sense to develop a contingency plan to solve Illinois' pension crisis despite urgent financial difficulties and signals the landmark law signed by the Chicago Democrat in could be found unconstitutional. That's a very bad strategic position to take if you fervently believe that the law," is constitutional.

In a separate case, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in July that a law requiring retirees to pay more for health insurance was unconstitutional. The decision centered on the constitution's strong protections for retirement benefits, leaving many to question the fate of the state's pension overhaul and possible future credit downgrades. Quinn, an attorney, said each court case is unique.

He noted Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's comments that arguments in the two cases are different and believes that the July opinion won't affect the pension overhaul ruling. Good luck with that. There are four reasons why reform still has a chance: 1. Supreme Court precedent allows the state to modify its contractual obligations when doing so is necessary to serve an important public purpose — and saving the state from insolvency and economic disaster is an extremely important public purpose.

Expect the Supreme Court to deeply consider the massive cuts to core government services, including funding for classrooms, police services and health care for the poor that will occur if SB1 is not passed. It was better for them to take the hit to their benefits under the bankruptcy plan rather than rejecting all reforms and losing even more benefits under an imposed, harsh settlement. If SB1 fails, the pension crisis will hit Illinoisans at the local level harder than ever. State funding for education will be cut.

Public-safety spending will be slashed to free up cash for skyrocketing pension payments. Higher taxes coupled with cuts to services will only drive frustrated taxpayers and overburdened businesses to other states. Plans to overhaul public and private sector pension plans were met with a loud outcry from union and opposition critics during the last session.

The government eventually relented by referring the bills to an all-party legislative committee for further study and consultations. A report from the committee was due back at the start of the fall session. However, the province said Thursday it has no plans to reintroduce the pair of bills. The changes would have replaced guaranteed cost of living adjustments with targeted ones, raised the early retirement threshold formula and would have introduced a contribution cap. The City Council later rejected the pension reform deal that emerged from that mediation.

Mayor Alvin Brown and the pension fund returned this year for another round of negotiations that were conducted in public sessions at City Hall. The City Council has not voted yet on that pension reform proposal. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer, announced her intentions to broaden the state's pay-to-play law a day after the Division of Investment confirmed the pension system had sold its stake in a venture capital fund with ties to a Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate who donated to the New Jersey GOP.

The pension system is barred from investing in a firm when the fund management professionals have made contributions to New Jersey candidates and state political committees within a two-year period. When the pension system approves an alternative investment — including venture capital firms and hedge funds — those firms are required to fill out disclosures listing the managers of the particular fund New Jersey is investing with and whether those individuals have made political contributions. But the state's conflict of interest law does not cover political donations to groups outside New Jersey, like the Republican Governors Association, which Governor Christie heads.

AP — A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session. Judge Janice Clark ruled that the Louisiana Legislature didn't follow proper procedure in approving the enhanced benefits for Col. Mike Edmonson and a year trooper in Houma. She said the pension change "is unconstitutional on its face. After the hearing, Edmonson said he was grateful for the judge's decision.

Lawmakers said they didn't realize the retirement provision had been included in the bill, and no one defended the law in court. Lawyers for Gov. Bobby Jindal, Edmonson, the state police retirement system and Treasurer John Kennedy supported the judge's decision. The exposure was created using a method called leverage that borrows against investments to make more investments. But was Houston portfolio strategist Lee Partridge authorized to employ so much leverage?

Dianne Jacob, chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors and a member of the pension board, is not sure. Her concern comes down to semantics, but it has serious implications as the board sets out to consider terminating Partridge at a meeting set for Oct. Mike Tobash. Pennsylvania needs public pension reform and we need it now. The site also includes details about the hybrid pension plan solution.

It also details five major problems Pennsylvanians will likely face if no action is taken, describes the solution the hybrid plan approach offers and dispels a few common myths about his hybrid plan solution. I don't know how serious they are about this. Pension experts generally consider a funding ratio of at least 80 percent satisfactory to meet future payment obligations. Fifty percent of those individuals are still working but qualified for a pension, 29 percent are receiving benefits, 14 percent are inactive and not qualified for a pension and 7 percent are not working in a government job but are pension-eligible.

Lawmakers have passed bills seeking to pry open the MBTA retirement documents, bringing them in line with pension disclosures throughout other areas of state government. Pension appropriations represent one of the largest areas of fixed spending in the annual state budget. Lawyers for the retirement fund have maintained that the fund is private, and said the Supreme Judicial Court has supported that, foreclosing opportunities for state law to enforce openness.

The vote last week at a Massachusetts Transportation Board meeting in Chelsea City Hall was the final step toward the new disclosure phase for the pension fund, said MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott, who said the union has already ratified the language. Bill 3 has already resulted in a number of pressure tactics, including Montreal police officers swapping their uniforms for camouflage pants and the ransacking last month of city hall. I bet they get a few hits per week. I think I still have a lot to contribute.

The study aims to map out potential climate scenarios and their impacts on economies and markets, with forecasts stretching out to and It follows a weekend of marches across the world calling for action on climate change, as the United Nations prepares to meet for a Climate Summit in New York on September Mercer ran a previous study in outlining the impact of climate change on strategic asset allocation, but is now seeking to expand its research.

As well as large pensions, Mercer said the study was also backed by sovereign wealth funds, endowments, insurers, private banks, and investment managers. Some investors—particularly university endowments—have come under pressure for investments in fossil fuels in recent months, with alumni and staff from Yale in the US and Oxford in the UK calling for their funds to cut such holdings. It was , the year after Gov. A former executive from the heights of finance and a national Republican Party power broker, Grady was pursuing a new strategy, shifting money into hedge funds and private equity holdings in the name of diversification and higher returns.

But one special feature of that Blackstone bet underscores the interlocking relationships at play as states increasingly rely on the counsel and management of Wall Street institutions to invest their pension dollars: One of the private equity funds New Jersey was investing in — a pool of money called Blackstone Capital Partners VI — claimed among its investors a Wyoming-based company named Cheyenne Capital. That company's list of partners included one Robert Grady. In short, Grady was pushing to invest New Jersey public money in the same Blackstone fund in which his own firm was investing -- without disclosing that fact to N.

This sort of arrangement is generally anathema in the realm of public pension oversight, where state rules often bar public officials from being involved in investments in which they or their companies have a financial interest. Because they'd know they couldn't afford it. In the past, I have contacted the Pension Fellow at the Academy with the individual instances, so that he could contact the author or editor. At a certain point, I told them they should set up a google alert to find these stories my google alert that gets me the stories I post is only on the word "pension".

But while supporters and opponents of the reforms bitterly disagree on that point, attorneys on both sides of the issue say it's unlikely that the city couldwithdraw from the state retirement plan for public-safety workers. Phoenix voters will decide its fate in November. The initiative targets the retirement plan for general city workers hired in the future. Although the measure's preamble states it's not intended to affect first responders, attorneys for Phoenix have said the actual language, specifically the amendment to the City Charter, is poorly written and could wind up blocking pension contributions for existing and future police and fire.

However, several areas of state law, including the Arizona Constitution and provisions creating the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, could prohibit Phoenix from ever withdrawing from the plan or diminishing retirement benefits for existing employees, attorneys said.

If voters approve the Phoenix initiative, state statutes would likely trump any changes the city might attempt to make that affects police and fire, the attorneys said. Poor investment returns and growing benefits required by state laws have reduced the level of funding for police and fire pensions in Aurora over the last 20 years, Weisner said. I think that gave us all a deep reflection on the price of risk in our portfolios. And as we look forward - and we are a very long-term investor, we see climate change as a very, very critical issue that we have to take into consideration.

BLOCK: And when you think about climate change and how it might affect risk in your portfolio - give me a for instance of what you're thinking about there? EHNES: Well clearly the economy is tilted toward carbon assets and for any investor our size those carbon assets are substantial component of the investments. So as you look out at the risks, let's take oil. Right now if the planet burned all the proven reserves that are out there for oil we would in fact exceed this two degree limit that everyone is concerned about when life will greatly change on this planet.

So with that as a benchmark, what we see in the oil industry is continued exploration - in fact, hundreds of billions of dollars being invested year after year. That take us well beyond what we call that carbon budget. What does that mean for an investment in a portfolio like ours? Well that probably will mean that ultimately the value of those companies, those assets, what we call stranded assets, will be devalued.