SJ-R: David McSweeney: Pension cost shift would lead to higher taxes

Serious efforts are underway in the Illinois General Assembly to pass legislation to shift billions of dollars in education pension obligations from the state to local schools.

If proponents get their way, it could be disastrous to homeowners, who inevitably would see their property tax bills increase.

Last year, House Speaker Michael Madigan made it clear that the cost shift is a top priority, and there are rumblings that it could come back as part of a modified education formula comprehensive bill.
Also, if the recent pension-reform legislation is declared unconstitutional, it’s likely the speaker will push the cost shift again.

I am opposed to the cost shift because two-thirds of all Illinois schools are operating in the red and districts simply cannot afford to take on the state’s pension obligations. Shifting billions of dollars in obligations to local schools essentially would create an unfunded mandate that local schools cannot afford.

There probably will be efforts to pass the pension cost shift legislation as soon as the November veto session. To counter these efforts, I have introduced a House resolution to oppose the proposed cost shift.

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