Cullerton moves veto override on Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (AUDIO)

jjc veto 120116Today the Senate voted to override the governor's veto of Senate Bill 2822 regarding appropriations for the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. Here is the full text of Senate President John Cullerton's introduction of the bill and audio from the floor action.

"I move to override the governor's veto of Senate Bill 2822. I’d like to explain what the bill does and then give a little reaction to the governor's veto.

"This bill provides for fiscal year ’17 that the state will pay the employer normal cost of $215.2 million to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. It will be made through a continuing appropriation from the Common School Fund.

"By way of background, the Chicago Board of Education contributes, as you undoubtedly know, a majority of the pension contribution to the pension fund. In fiscal year ’16, the board contributed $688 million. The state contribution to this fund in ’16 was $12 million. Residents in Chicago are paying for the normal cost and the unfunded liability of pensions for Chicago teachers, and the normal cost and the unfunded liability for downstate teachers.

"So, we agreed in passing this bill that we would appropriate this money — $215.2 million. It's the normal cost. We pay the normal cost for everyone else in the rest of the state. This money was used in contract negotiations with the Board of Education and the teachers union in assuming that they could reach a contract, and it was counted on.

"Now when the bill was passed, the governor indicated that he would not sign it unless we had some form of pension reform, and I told him that I agreed with that concept. We had to release the bill to the governor in time for us to see if we can get that pension reform and if not, we’d have an opportunity to override the governor. So therefore, I gave the governor the bill on November 7.

"So between November 7 and today, we have been engaged in discussions about pension reform that I'm committed to. Unfortunately, today apparently the governor felt that I was somehow suddenly not interested in negotiating a comprehensive pension reform. That is not true. As a result, he vetoed the bill. Unfortunately and therefore, we have to ask to override.

"After we override this governor's veto, I would be more than happy to go right back to the bargaining table and to continue discuss the Chicago pensions reform, pension reform for the entire state. The issue is not so much what's in such a reform but rather how to pass it. And I look forward to working with the governor in getting the necessary votes.

"In the meantime, this is nothing but parity. We've already paid over $900 million for the normal cost for everybody else's school district. We’re asking to pay the $215.2 million for Chicago. (I’d) be happy to answer any questions, and I would ask for an aye vote."

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