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Governor Rauner Urges General Assembly to Ensure Pension Reform, Funding for Chicago Public Schools

Governor Rauner released a video message Thursday encouraging the General Assembly to take swift action on legislation that would enact statewide pension reform while delivering Chicago Public Schools the $215 million it has requested from the state.

The Governor has pledged to sign the legislation when it reaches his desk. The video can be viewed on his Facebook page.

“The people of Illinois want to see their leaders get good things done in Springfield and right now, we have the opportunity to make that happen. Comprehensive pension reform for the entire state would save taxpayers billions, and allow us to meet a request for assistance from the city of Chicago,” Rauner said. “Illinois has been asking for a compromise, and this is a compromise we can all get behind. Let’s get it done.”

Senators Michael Connelly and Jil Tracy this week introduced legislation taking the pension bill (SB 16) from the “Grand Bargain” and combining it with a bill delivering $215 million to CPS for its teacher pensions. The package would be expected to win bipartisan support given that the pension proposal came within four votes of passage and the CPS funding passed both chambers of the General Assembly last summer.

Last June, Governor Rauner and the four legislative leaders agreed the state would pay for one year of CPS’ teacher pensions as long as lawmakers provided the necessary funding by passing statewide pension reform. The agreement was broken when the Illinois Senate did not follow-through with the pension reform component and sent only the CPS bill to the Governor’s desk.

Recently, the Rauner Administration offered two paths to help CPS fill its multi-million dollar budget hole: the legislative proposal or through city TIF funds.

“We urge the General Assembly to move forward quickly with the deal on pensions that helps our state save billions of dollars,” Rauner said. “By honoring the agreement we worked out last summer, Democrats could jumpstart momentum to break the budget impasse in Springfield.”