A long time player of the legislative game in Springfield says not much has been nailed down this year on several huge issues affecting the state. State retiree health insurance for example. ISU's lobbyist is Phil Adams.
Adams says the insurance package that the Department of Central Management Services has promoted is based on the ability of retirees to pay.
Adams says the current contract negotiation with the union AFSCME also bears on the situation. And he says he does not expect House Speaker Mike Madigan or Senate President John Cullerton to cede authority to the Quinn administration to decide the issue.
Also uncertain, Adams says is action on the pension funding problem. He does expect a major downsizing of the COLA system.
Adams says something roughly like this could end up passing...employees would pay another three percent...and employers no less than six percent toward retirement. House Speaker Mike Madigan favors eight or nine percent. That would be phased in. Some lawmakers also say they believe the pension issue won't be dealt with until the fall veto session.
Even operating budgets for next year are still in flux. Adams says there is still a $14 million shortfall in the student aid program called MAP.
Public Universities are arguing for a different tactic, reducing the amount of MAP money going to students who attend private or for profit colleges and universities.
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