Dem Sees 'Fuzzy Pension Math' In Rauner Budget

Feb 18, 2015

Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks with reporters in the Illinois Capitol Building. He was governor-elect in this November 2014 file photo.
Credit Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling for big cuts in state spending. But some of his projected savings could be a long way off.

A huge chunk of Rauner’s budget savings comes from freezing state pensions and moving workers into more modest plans.

“We cannot continue to raise taxes on all Illinoisans in order to fund the retirement benefits of a small fraction of our residents," Rauner said.

What’s unusual about Rauner’s approach is that he’s booking the $2.2 billion in savings right away, even though it likely would be challenged in court.

State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Democrat from Northbrook, sponsored the big pension overhaul that’s before the state Supreme Court. Illinois has yet to count on any savings from that law.

"This is in a lot of ways back to the Illinois fuzzy pension math that we used for decades that got us into this problem," Nekritz said.