Metro-east lawmakers vote against pension reform plan

News-DemocratDecember 3, 2013 

All eight of the metro-east lawmakers who were in Springfield on Tuesday voted against adopting a pension reform bill.

Two local legislators, Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, and state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Belleville, were absent. Fellow lawmakers said Hoffman was not in Springfield for the vote Tuesday due a death in his family.

The Illinois House and Senate voted Tuesday to approve a pension reform bill that promises to wipe out $100 billion in pension debt in Illinois.

Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, voted against the bill, saying he wanted to know what the state planned to do with the $160 billion in taxpayer savings claimed during the three-hour senate debate.

"Ten percent of the savings is allocated to a fund to put into the pensions. What happens to the 90 percent?" McCarter stated. "Do we implement government reform; tax reform? We're not guaranteed that. We're going to take their money and put it into new programs. There's no guarantee that's not going to happen with this bill."

He also questioned the savings promised by the bill.

"I would be much more inclined to support this bill if this bucket didn't have so many holes in it," he said.

The House approved the bill with a 62-53 vote. The bill needed 60 votes to pass.

Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Smithton; Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville; Rep. Daniel Beiser, D-Alton; Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon; and Eddie Lee Jackson, D-East St. Louis, all voted against the bill.

The bill passed the Senate a short time later with a 30-24 vote. It needed 30 votes to pass and will now go on to Gov. Pat Quinn.

Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, and Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, also voted against the bill.

Quinn has already said he plans to sign the bill.

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