Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) dropped his controversial proposal on Wednesday to shift the state's teacher pensions committment to local school districts, universities and community colleges.
The announcement came after two days of spirited debate over pension reform in both the House and Senate.
Madigan's plan, which was part of Senate Bill 1673, was widely criticized by Republicans, and threatened to derail other legislation to address the state's massive pension shortfall.
Madigan said he reached the decision after Gov. Pat Quinn asked him to drop the amendment, the Associated Press reports.
“He agrees with the Republicans. He thinks that we ought to remove the issue of the shift of normal cost out of the bill,” Madigan told the House on Wednesday night. “I disagree with the governor, but he is the governor. This is his request.”
The bill was handed over to House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego, who slammed Madigan on Tuesday, calling his proposal a "poison pill" to kill pension legislation.
Plans to remove Madigan's amendment will be considered by a House Panel on Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Illinois currently has an $83 billion unfunded pension liability—$44 billion of which is from the Teachers' Retirement System.
With the cost-shift language off the table, lawmakers could vote on a comprehensive pension reform plan before the legislative session ends Thursday night.
School district officials from Orland School District 135, Consolidated High School District 230 and Community Consolidated School District 146 have previously spoken out against proposals to shift the state's TRS obligation to local districts.
The shift could have cost D135 about $8 million and D230 $12 million, officials said.
Looking for more pension reform stories?
- New Legislation in Springfield Might Cost D135 Taxpayers Even More Money (Live Blog Transcript)
- Director of Teachers’ Retirement System: Illinois in a ‘Fiscal Mess’
- Lawyer to State: ‘Shifting the Cost Isn’t Pension Reform’ (Live Blog Transcript)
- Pension Tension: School Districts Send Opposition to Springfield