Rep. Sid Mathias Expresses Disappointment Over Special Session Outcome
Calling it “more of the same political games,” State Rep. Sid Mathias (R-Arlington Heights) expressed his disappointment on Friday over the House’ failure to approve a comprehensive pension reform bill.
“Although I voted today in favor of a bill amendment that would essentially end the General Assembly Retirement System at a date set in the future, legislators did not get an opportunity to discuss a bill that would adequately address the State’s growing pension debt,” said Mathias. “I have said all along that we need comprehensive pension reform that reaches across all five of the failing State pension systems. The bill we discussed today only addresses the smallest of the five systems and it does not even begin to scratch the surface of the pension debt problem.” Mathias went on to say that the General Assembly portion of the pension liability represents less than one percent of the total liability.
Legislators argued the amendment and bill at a special session called for Friday by Governor Quinn. While the amendment was approved in a 54-53 vote, Speaker Mike Madigan never called the amended bill for a final vote when it appeared it would not have the required 60 votes for passage.
According to Mathias, Illinois has the worst funded pension system in the country, with a liability of between $83 and $150 billion, and which is growing by $12 million every day. “The State’s pension liability has increased by more than 600% over the last 12 years,” Mathias said. “The State has overpromised pension benefits, yet the leaders in the House do not seem willing to make the difficult decisions that are required to correct the problem.”