What should the governor do to control pension costs during union contract talks? What would you do?

Budget

The Governor is hamstrung until the State Legislature realizes how poorly their politician-controlled pension funds are performing.

Don't antagonize them prior to a good faith negotiation process, perhaps? Other than that, allow me to be creative. I would bring a team of insurance company actuaries that are experts in explaining mortality credits and the math and science behind guaranteed pension income. Then I would have my HP 10b11 calculator ready for some present value/future value calculations to demonstrate the amount of money required to guarantee one human being $72,000 a year (the average state worker pension in 2017) of inflation adjusted guaranteed lifetime income. (It's more than $2,400,000). Then, calculate how much money it takes to invest each year for 30 years to accumulate at least $2,400,000 per human being that is promised a $72,000 annual inflation adjusted guaranteed lifetime income. (It's $30,357 at a 6% annual rate of return). I would make sure this part of the negotiation is broadcast live on WGN so that a person who makes $50,000 working 40+ hours a week for 49 weeks a year and can barely save $2,850 into an IRA (see Motley Fool 'The Average American Savings Rate') can witness how math, science and reality collide with union negotiators. Then, I'd issue an order forbidding state troopers into parking garages so when the union negotiators return to their vehicles, they can answer questions face to face to throngs of $50,000 non-pensioned salaried workers who might have pay more taxes because of a 'negotiation impasse'.

It's important to strike a balance between state workers and taxpayers. To maintain our state's talented workforce, pension benefits must be in line with other Midwestern states and private sector employers. At the same time, we definitely need various forms of pension reform so we can get our unfunded pension liability under control and preserve the solvency of our state's pension system. Failure to act would devastate our state's finances while also imperiling the retirements of current and soon-to-be retired state workers.

This is a problem that impacts everyone in Illinois, and it's in the best interest of union members to work with our leadership to identify true and lasting reforms. Approaching this issue with genuine interest in better policy, sound fiscal management and lasting reform is the only way our Governor, union leaders and lawmakers should handle contract talks. This is how I would approach contract discussions as well.

If I were the governor and I sensed a need to be in negotiations with union representatives, the first thing I would do is reconsider the wisdom of my participation. After continuous efforts to break up unions, the governor has no credibility. The negotiations would be better served by having someone else in the negotiation room. In terms of an actual negotiation technique, I recommend that the governor begin by holding no secrets. Show the budget to the union reps and have them come up with proposals that do not break the budget. I would also try to insist that while negotiations are happening, the rank and file be frequently polled to assure that they are being adequately represented.

Work with the unions and employing agencies to reach solutions all sides can live with. I think most people are reasonable, and see that there is a problem that needs to be addressed, and may well be willing to sacrifice, if the pain is shared by all parties. The problem with the last "reform" was that it was only the workers who were asked to give up anything. One reform that might make some sense would be to have the employing agencies responsible for paying out annuities (but of course, the State would have to factor those payments into the agency budgets). This would help cut down the small amount of abuse in the pension system.

In Illinois, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), through its state chapter Council 31 is the union that represents many public service workers in the public, private and non-profit sectors. This includes about 100,000 active and retired workers comprised in part of around 40,000 state employees in 50 departments, boards, commissions and authorities under the Governor. Under their traditional pension system, taxpayers contribute about 26 cents for every pension benefit dollar. The system is efficiently managed by professionals with reasonable overhead and costs.

Private retirement accounts have been suggested by the present gubernatorial administration as a means to reduce costs. However, reportedly in some states in which this has been attempted, returns on the pensioners' investment was lower than in traditional systems, sometimes resulting in a 50 per cent reduction in returns. The bulk of Illinois' public pensions are funded by investments income and employee contributions. Unlike most corporate pensions, most state and local workers in Illinois are required to contribute regularly to their pensions. State of Illinois employees receive relatively modest pensions for their public service, based on a four-year average of their previous ten years of employment. The median annual pension for state and university employees is under $30,000 a year. The median pension for downstate teachers is a little over $50,000 per year and they do not receive social security benefits, as is the case with some university employee retirees. The courts have ruled that Illinois public pensions cannot be diminished or impaired once granted.

Unfortunately, despite years of difficult negotiation, the Governor discontinued talks with AFSCME and refused to further consider its bargaining proposals. These proposals included a four-year wage freeze, increased employee payments for health care, and the status quo for salary schedules, vacation benefits and work hours. AFSCME contended that these proposals would not increase costs for the state. The Governor and his administration representatives should return to productive talks with AFSCME and reach compromise that is fair to all parties.

Rauner should a conversation where he talks AND listens to what is said. That is the foundation to how I would start contract talks. I will inform them where we are as a State, so that they are aware of our limitations, and also mention to them that workers are my top priority along with keeping the State afloat..."Let's work together" EGOS must be set aside. I know that it can be said that there's more to it. But I believe this needs to be dealt with at a foundational level.

Rauner should a conversation where he talks AND listens to what is said. That is the foundation to how I would start contract talks. I will inform them where we are as a State, so that they are aware of our limitations, and also mention to them that workers are my top priority along with keeping the State afloat..."Let's work together" EGOS must be set aside. I know that it can be said that there's more to it. But I believe this needs to be dealt with at a foundational level.

Negotiate the cost of pensions be absorbed by the unions in the final contract as part of the employee compensation package. I would negotiate that state employees that are represented by unions have their pensions paid by the unions, as it is for union members outside of government. The state should not be held liable for public employee union pensions.

We should first remember that the Governor and the unions are in a difficult position. They're bound by strong limitations in the constitution and a budget crisis facing Springfield. That's why I want to see everyone in a room together holding meaningful discussions. As I wrote previously, while the unions have no incentive to give up language in the current constitution, they do have incentive to see state government solvent, efficient, successful, and employing their members. I truly believe they'll be willing to make contract concessions, and the state can give low cost concessions as well (more vacation days, telecommuting, more maternity and paternity leave, etc.), that can help close the gap, even though it likely won't solve the whole problem. At least it's a step in the right direction.

Put Illinois taxpayers first, be fair and reasonable during negotiations, and prepare for unions to strike after negotiations. The idea is to produce results from negotiations that show prospective companies looking to locate business in Illinois that pension costs are being properly managed and that the unsustainable costs have made a turn for the better.

First, the Governor should lead with positive intent and try to build some trust and decrease the animosity between the two sides. The Governor then needs to systematically demonstrate the unsustainability of the structure, how the business climate and mass exodus from Illinois does not support raising taxes to pay the current benefits and how we must reform the system or every stakeholder---state employees and taxpayers---will lose. Then he must continue to argue for the measures outlined above. What would you do? Same as above.

The Legislature needs to give the Governor the tools he needs to get these costs under control. Instead of hindering these efforts, the Legislature needs to help

There has to be some concessions from the unions as well. They are citizens of the state as well and have to see that this direction is not sustainable. All new hires need to be in defined contribution programs. For me its about relationship building and working together to find a solution. collaboration is the key to all of this.

Both parties should come to an agreement that benefits both state employees and taxpayers. I would negotiate COLAs, pension plans, & retiree benefits in a reasonable manner.

Our pension crisis is primarily caused by two factors. One is a failure by the executive and legislative branches to adequately fund pension promises. The other is the contracts signed by previous administrations and state employee unions, which made promises the state could not afford. Moving forward, this governor and future governors should negotiate with taxpayers first and foremost in mind. And the legislature should not interfere with governor's bargaining power the way recent General Assemblies have tried to do.

I think the Governor is in a bad position based on the court rulings. I would push to change the system to a defined contribution plan or a sustainable pension system and I would begin cutting back on state government employment.

Most importantly, the governor must represent the taxpayer during union contract talks. For years, special interest groups have captured lawmakers and governors, coaxing them to make promises they could not keep. Any offers made on pensions during union contract negotiations must be competitive with similar retirement plans offered to private sector counterparts, but at the same time they must address the staggering financial situation our state is in. Illinois can no longer promise extravagant and unaffordable benefits during negotiations.

First I would change how the money is managed, getting all of it into a low cost managed fund. We are paying way to much in fees for what we are currently getting. Secondly I would look at getting pension funds to purchase all State Buildings that are currently not owned by the state but leased. This would allow the pensioners to have some skin in the game making sure they are getting the best values, while at the same time making sure their tenant is in good financial condition. Lastly I would look at bureaucracy, starting at the top. Having worked for the State of Illinois in the past, the state can operate with many fewer employees at the bloated bureaucratic top.

He should allow the unions to have ownership of the problem. The unions negotiated for pensions that are hurting our state. The power of the unions at the time when the pensions were negotiated allowed them to demand these budget-crushing liabilities. If the unions did not intend to wreak havoc here, how can they help us move forward? I would strongly encourage the unions to participate in solving the crisis of the budget in Illinois. The more partners we have at the policy-making table, the greater the chance we will have of a successful solution.

Springfield is not producing for Illinois taxpayers or government workers counting on promised pension benefits the State cannot afford. The Governor, the unions and legislators need to accept reality and negotiate in good faith for a compromise. Most people can agree that the State must have the resources to pay the pension promises of workers late in their careers, that no one should receive a pension more than $100,000/year and that our state does not have enough money to continue on the status quo. The governor's role in these talks should be negotiate in good faith, uphold our promises, articulate the need for reform, and always be looking to build consensus.

I would look to the example set in our neighboring states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana. These are states that have implemented serious reforms to turn their pension systems around. Short of a constitutional amendment that would give the state an opportunity to renegotiate contracts with state workers under the age of 55, I would support a proposal that made retirement income over $100,000 taxable income. Such a proposal would help ensure that all pensioners can receive the benefits they were promised without leaving our state's lower and middle-income workers behind.

A realistic assessment (a small business operating requirement) of revenue and expenses has to be done. We cannot keep spending more on government services than what our state is bringing in. Going forward, a complete analysis of all government agencies needs to be done to determine what jobs are necessary for our state to survive, what jobs can be eliminated/combined, and what jobs need to be created. Based on resources, expenses, statistics, and technology a comprehensive compromise needs to be achieved that satisfies both parties involved in negotiations.

Educate the public of how much the pensions are costing the taxpayers and the reality of the unfunded liability. I would hold town halls and focus groups seeking input from economic advisors, business owners, and community leaders on the impact of unfunded pension liabilities and what we can do to get the issue under control

The courts have made it clear that there is little the state can do to change the pension benefits of state workers. The General Assembly should give the Governor all of the tools he needs to get pension costs under control.

No response provided.

The governor should negotiate a fair contract that doesn't attempt to balance the budget on the backs of state workers. Because pension obligations are defined in statute, the governor has limited control on what he can accomplish regarding pension costs at the collective bargaining table.

It appears based upon the Pension Clause that the current pension costs can be controlled primarily by funding them so we avoid further unnecessary interest costs; changing the pensions in the future or prospectively for new members only, thus maintaining every contracted union members' current pension under the current constitution's provisions. Skillful negotiation with members of pensions by aligning our goals together to be for the best interests of everyone in which they receive something that incentivizes them to give a little and also encourage them to stay in Illinois while maintaining a realistic and reasonable perspective by not spending or promising beyond our means may help union contract talks. The type of work done today, with modern technology and the extension of the modern life expectancy must be considered among other aspects in fairly negotiating union contracts.

Pension contributions should be a key bargaining issue as well as health care costs. These are substantial economic problems adding to the cost of government and need to be addressed in future contracts

The governor needs to enter into contract negotiations in good faith without the intent of stripping benefits from public employees. We can support our public employees without slashing the rest of our state budget by modernizing our tax code and entering these negotiations in good faith, while considering the constraints on our state budget. It is therefore critical our next governor is reasonable in his view of labor and understands both the pension systems and details of our state's budget.

The governor should seek some help in effective negotiating tactics. To control pension costs in future contracts you have to be an effective negotiator and steer future wage and benefit increases away from pensions.

Before any negotiation can take place, the state needs to demonstrate good faith by taking steps to amortize the debt as described above. After years of finger pointing, the state must demonstrate a real desire to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

The executive branch (Governor, regardless of political party) should have the tools needed to negotiate a fiscally responsible contract. The legislature's responsibility is to vote on the overall cost of the negotiated agreement.

The contract with state workers must be brought in line with the retirement systems, work hours, and benefits that are standard practice outside of government. It is vital for the solvency of the state, with pension costs accounting for approximately 25% of the state's total spending obligations, that defined benefit plans be phased out and replaced with those modeled on a 401K. My view is that government should largely stay out of the retirement business and that Illinois taxpayers should not be spending billions to support a system from which they derive little benefit. As a result of the impasse over AFSCME contract negotiations, the Governor has attempted to move forward with implementing a new contract based upon his last, best offer. However, as we know, this process has been tied up in the courts.

The executive branch (Governor, regardless of political party) should have the tools needed to negotiate a fiscally responsible contract. The legislature's responsibility is to vote on the overall cost of the negotiated agreement.

The contract with state workers must be brought in line with the retirement systems, work hours, and benefits that are standard practice outside of government. It is vital for the solvency of the state, with pension costs accounting for approximately 25% of the state's total spending obligations, that defined benefit plans be phased out and replaced with those modeled on a 401K. My view is that government should largely stay out of the retirement business and that Illinois taxpayers should not be spending billions to support a system from which they derive little benefit. As a result of the impasse over AFSCME contract negotiations, the Governor has attempted to move forward with implementing a new contract based upon his last, best offer. However, as we know, this process has been tied up in the courts.

Pay it! Then determine what reforms need to take place.

Far and away the most important thing that he has to do is negotiate better. By that I really mean that our prior contracts have sometimes seemed to assume that the future will never come. Generous pension benefits are given in exchange for very small and short term salary relief. That way IL can spend more in the short term and let a future leader worry about the repercussions. The "Edgar Ramp" — with its artificially low payments for the first ten year, and the two pension "holidays" declared by Governor Blagojevich are a couple of examples. Of course, with this problem having finally come into the fore this should not happen any longer.

Some of the things that need to be done to control pension costs include the following:

The liability for the pension cost needs to be shifted to the agency that incurred them; for example a Professor's pension needs to be paid by that state university, as this will encourage more reasonable frugality;
End of career raises need to be greatly curtailed — this has been a very popular way to give employees a very lucrative parting gift;
Limitations need to be built into the system to make early retirement followed by a second job with a second pension far less lucrative: and
The special pension enhancements being doled out to insiders discussed in the prior paragraph must stop. The good news is that with Tier III many of the above advancements are starting to be made.

I firmly believe that both parties created our pension problems. In order to solve our problems we are going to need solutions from both sides. The Governor must be willing to work with the Legislature and stakeholders from both parties in order to come up with a compromise solution on these pension reforms. We need to work across the aisle to address the issue together. The first step to compromise is negotiating in good faith. I have not seen that happen yet on this issue.

Again to give you an honest answer I would have to study the situation and converse with the governor. A smart person never goes to war without a plan. If there is no plan, there is no victory.

The Governor could sit down with the union and discuss health care and work rule changes in the context of job security provisions, ending outsourcing, and other expanding service delivery changes. The Governor could also commit to reducing middle-level management positions that do not have supervisory responsibilities.

The Governor could sit down with the union and discuss health care and work rule changes in the context of job security provisions, ending outsourcing, and other expanding service delivery changes. The Governor could also commit to reducing middle-level management positions that do not have supervisory responsibilities.

The primary means for the State to control pension costs going forward is for the Illinois legislators to create stable and dependable revenues to re-amortize existing debt and pay current expenses. If Governor Rauner wants to tackle the pension funding issue he should focus on reforms that actually address the root causes of the problem rather than threatening to reduce worker's benefits knowing his proposals will produce minimal savings and likely not pass constitutional challenges. While I also support closing loopholes in the system that allow a small number of high-earning public employees to manipulate their pensions and create unduly large payments, it is important to recognize that this is one very small part of what is a multibillion dollar issue. Structural reform in the form of adequate revenues and a responsible payment plan are the most important legislative initiatives Governor Rauner can undertake to address Illinois pension debt problem.

As noted above, the problem with public pension funding is not the normal (current) cost, but the accumulated years that employees paid into the pensions while the State did not. I am not sure I see a solution to that problem in union contract talks.

The primary means for the State to control pension costs going forward is for the Illinois legislators to create stable and dependable revenues to re-amortize existing debt and pay current expenses. If Governor Rauner wants to tackle the pension funding issue he should focus on reforms that actually address the root causes of the problem rather than threatening to reduce worker's benefits knowing his proposals will produce minimal savings and likely not pass constitutional challenges. While I also support closing loopholes in the system that allow a small number of high-earning public employees to manipulate their pensions and create unduly large payments, it is important to recognize that this is one very small part of what is a multibillion dollar issue. Structural reform in the form of adequate revenues and a responsible payment plan are the most important legislative initiatives Governor Rauner can undertake to address Illinois pension debt problem.

As noted above, the problem with public pension funding is not the normal (current) cost, but the accumulated years that employees paid into the pensions while the State did not. I am not sure I see a solution to that problem in union contract talks.

Your question assumes that the reason we have massive pension debt is because public sector unions somehow pull the wool over everyone's eyes by negotiating too-rich pension benefits. The problem is not with pensions themselves but with the irresponsible choice that was repeatedly made not to adequately fund them. The average state pension provides for payouts in retirement that are comparable to social security which most public employee retirees do not receive. For better or worse, we have made a decision in the United States to provide some retirement benefits for our citizens who work. The best way to control pension costs on a going-forward basis is to pay our pension bills on time and in full. I hope Illinois has learned its lesson — we cannot continue to kick the can. And, public-sector employees in Illinois are deserving of a modest retirement income in exchange for their decision to work in government.

Illinois' next Governor will have a productive relationship with organized labor and collective bargaining should produce the changes both sides desire.

Your question assumes that the reason we have massive pension debt is because public sector unions somehow pull the wool over everyone's eyes by negotiating too-rich pension benefits. The problem is not with pensions themselves but with the irresponsible choice that was repeatedly made not to adequately fund them. The average state pension provides for payouts in retirement that are comparable to social security which most public employee retirees do not receive. For better or worse, we have made a decision in the United States to provide some retirement benefits for our citizens who work. The best way to control pension costs on a going-forward basis is to pay our pension bills on time and in full. I hope Illinois has learned its lesson — we cannot continue to kick the can. And, public-sector employees in Illinois are deserving of a modest retirement income in exchange for their decision to work in government.

Illinois' next Governor will have a productive relationship with organized labor and collective bargaining should produce the changes both sides desire.

The governor can limit overtime and work to negotiate efficiently so exorbitant attorneys' fees are limited as well.

He should try to find a middle ground. While he may think "right to work" will spark economic and job growth, it clearly is a policy that the state does not want. Right to Work talks should be tabled, and a bipartisan plan should be discussed to talk about how to best protect jobs, and also keep the state from hemorrhaging money into the pension system.

The Governor can support a system that pays the current pension bills on time. Retirees worked hard and paid into their pensions and shouldn't have to worry about their payouts being reduced because of mismanagement by the legislature. I would make sure our public employees know I am committed to paying what we owe them. And then I would bring every key stakeholder to the table to talk next steps.

The governor can limit overtime and work to negotiate efficiently so exorbitant attorneys' fees are limited as well.

Our pension debt is not being driven by recent employees: it's driven by deals made years ago that we're bound by. New employees, unionized or not, do not receive the generous benefits of their predecessors. The Governor should deal fairly and in good faith with the unions.

The best thing he can do is listen and compromise with the unions as opposed to simply dictating his firm opinion and hope that the unions will give in. I also think he should be less partisan and ideological in his negotiations. I would balance the needs of our public-sector employees with the needs of the taxpayers and find the best compromise.

The best thing he can do is listen and compromise with the unions as opposed to simply dictating his firm opinion and hope that the unions will give in. I also think he should be less partisan and ideological in his negotiations. I would balance the needs of our public-sector employees with the needs of the taxpayers and find the best compromise.

In my experience, teachers have been very willing to cooperate. They are generous public servants. When both sides come to the table with the intention to serve the needs of everyone, a win-win solution emerges. It is important to engage with a spirit of mutual benefit.

The governor should not touch the pension. I would not touch the pensions. this cost will regulate itself without political involvement.

Due to the 2015 ruling which reversed the action took by then Governor Quinn, the current Governor has a precedent before him that limits his influence in this area. I as a member of the House would first talk to the State employees in my District and hear what they have to say on the issue. This is missing right now as my opponent has not met with residents, stakeholders, taxpayers and voters on this issue in the District. My candidacy represents a true representative form of leadership for the people of the 31st District where for the first time, their voices, opinions and input is actually valued and would be lead any decision that I make on their behalf.

I believe compromise can be found through mutual respect and understanding. The current governor has shown neither. I would start with honest numbers and try to create a foundation of trust in talks with unions and I would not try to fight in the media all the time.

Due to the 2015 ruling which reversed the action took by then Governor Quinn, the current Governor has a precedent before him that limits his influence in this area. I as a member of the House would first talk to the State employees in my District and hear what they have to say on the issue. This is missing right now as my opponent has not met with residents, stakeholders, taxpayers and voters on this issue in the District. My candidacy represents a true representative form of leadership for the people of the 31st District where for the first time, their voices, opinions and input is actually valued and would be lead any decision that I make on their behalf.

The governor should not touch the pension. I would not touch the pensions. this cost will regulate itself without political involvement.

Paying current obligations to avoid mounting interest would go a long way to controlling pension costs in the long run.

I think that information is power and I would make sure that the real deficits of the state pension systems are well known to all union members.

I cannot say what the governor should do besides have an open mind as to where there are opportunities for compromise. If it were me I would start with the end goal in mind. The goal is to reach an agreement that keeps people working and providing vital services throughout the state. Next, I would listen for the purpose of understanding the issues and I would work diligently to see where we can agree as I think that is more effective than trying to impose my will. Lastly, I would take the approach of looking at the discussions with a lens for the long-term rather than small and quick victories for an election cycle or two.

Enact an equitable tax system that can shore up the solvency of the pension fund

As I am not running for Governor, I do not want to presume or postulate what the Governor ought to do, here. As a State Rep, I plan to organize and advocate for progressive revenues for the state of Illinois so that we can meet all our obligations and fund all our vital services and public schools.

These are very difficult negotiations because of so much mistrust among the parties. Nevertheless, the governor should work to help the parties see that it is in everyone's interest to rescue pensions from the real consequences of unfunded liabilities in the hundreds of billions of dollar. The threat of collapse is real even though few view it as such. The union is motivated to have as many state workers as possible. Perhaps the governor can convince them that without working together to find a long-term pension solution, the state must take measures to significantly reduce the number of workers subject to the pension system. I would do the five (5) things listed above.

Most things in government can only happen as a result of compromise. I would urge the governor to work with labor to preserve the benefits that people have earned and ensure that any changes to the pension system are not made on the back of middle-class families.

The governor needs to work directly with the unions to find creative ways to raise revenue and infuse it into our financial problem - the pension crisis. I support gaining additional revenue by moving to progressive taxes and taxing marijuana. I am counting on our current and future governors to take care of the working class and ensure our state has a viable way to move forward and out of the pension crisis.

This was, in fact, something that I was concerned about during our Board contract talks with our teachers. There is an element of unfairness when one governmental entity is negotiating contract terms for which another governmental entity will end up bearing financial responsibility. The burden for escalating administrator salaries for the purpose of raising their pension benefit now falls on the district. I do not understand why this is an issue now that Tier II and Tier III pension reforms have become law and the courts have declared Tier I off limits for retroactive reductions.

This was, in fact, something that I was concerned about during our Board contract talks with our teachers. There is an element of unfairness when one governmental entity is negotiating contract terms for which another governmental entity will end up bearing financial responsibility. The burden for escalating administrator salaries for the purpose of raising their pension benefit now falls on the district. I do not understand why this is an issue now that Tier II and Tier III pension reforms have become law and the courts have declared Tier I off limits for retroactive reductions.

Most things in government can only happen as a result of compromise. I would urge the governor to work with labor to preserve the benefits that people have earned and ensure that any changes to the pension system are not made on the back of middle-class families.

I would first adopt the tenets of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA) of 2014 to make our revenues and expenditures searchable, accountable, transparent, and easy to understand- much like the state of Ohio and every single Federal Agency have done (see www.OhioCheckBook.com). This will show us exactly where our costs are. I would then embark on a program to bring efficiencies to these costs. I would publicize my findings to gain public support, and organize others to put pressure on lawmakers to arrive at a fair and equitable conclusion that will ensure Illinois grows its economy. The beauty of searchable data is that one does not need to be a professional forensic accountant to see how tax money is spent. Transparency will breed efficiency. The governor should also call for a Federal investigation into the dealings of Property Tax Brothers Mike Madigan, Jim Durkin, and Joe Berrios.

First and foremost, the Governor must stay at the table throughout these negotiations. Taking your ball and going home is not only disrespectful but also unproductive. Similar to the previous question, I think the biggest change that can/should be made is to ensure the ability to evaluate and bargain the complete compensation package alongside other working condition areas. While the pension component may be set, that value needs to be reflected in the bargaining process.

I would first adopt the tenets of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA) of 2014 to make our revenues and expenditures searchable, accountable, transparent, and easy to understand- much like the state of Ohio and every single Federal Agency have done (see www.OhioCheckBook.com). This will show us exactly where our costs are. I would then embark on a program to bring efficiencies to these costs. I would publicize my findings to gain public support, and organize others to put pressure on lawmakers to arrive at a fair and equitable conclusion that will ensure Illinois grows its economy. The beauty of searchable data is that one does not need to be a professional forensic accountant to see how tax money is spent. Transparency will breed efficiency. The governor should also call for a Federal investigation into the dealings of Property Tax Brothers Mike Madigan, Jim Durkin, and Joe Berrios.

First and foremost, the Governor must stay at the table throughout these negotiations. Taking your ball and going home is not only disrespectful but also unproductive. Similar to the previous question, I think the biggest change that can/should be made is to ensure the ability to evaluate and bargain the complete compensation package alongside other working condition areas. While the pension component may be set, that value needs to be reflected in the bargaining process.

I like to make informed decisions. So it would be impossible for me to speculate as to what the Governor should or shouldn't do. I don't know what information he has to base the decisions he makes. I would gather as much info as I could, consult with those I trust and make my decision then.

In 2010, Illinois passed Tier 2 pension reform. All employees hired after 1/1/2011 are on a dramatically different pension system with far more austere benefits than employees hired before that date (Tier 1). Tier 2 is so austere, that in some cases, the cost of providing the benefit is NEGATIVE, meaning the employee contributes more than the cost of the pension. This additional contribution winds up being a "subsidy" to the state. The Supreme Court has ruled that the state cannot make changes to the benefits of anyone working and with Tier 2 and potentially Tier 3 saving the state money, there isn't much left to be gained by making pensions an issue of collective bargaining.

In 2010, Illinois passed Tier 2 pension reform. All employees hired after 1/1/2011 are on a dramatically different pension system with far more austere benefits than employees hired before that date (Tier 1). Tier 2 is so austere, that in some cases, the cost of providing the benefit is NEGATIVE, meaning the employee contributes more than the cost of the pension. This additional contribution winds up being a "subsidy" to the state. The Supreme Court has ruled that the state cannot make changes to the benefits of anyone working and with Tier 2 and potentially Tier 3 saving the state money, there isn't much left to be gained by making pensions an issue of collective bargaining.

The governor should ensure that any pension benefits negotiated through contract talks are in line with private sector retirement benefits and are affordable to taxpayers. Illinois has such a large unfunded pension liability because previous lawmakers made promises that they could not keep. Going forward, we need to ensure that taxpayers are adequately represented in any benefit discussions or contract talks.

Need to reduce pension costs so the tax payers have reasonable chance to afford paying for the state pension liability. Change the yearly cost of living increase from 3% to the CPI. Switch all new hires to a 401 K plan. Same as what Illinois tax payers have to do to save for retirement.

The governor should ensure that any pension benefits negotiated through contract talks are in line with private sector retirement benefits and are affordable to taxpayers. Illinois has such a large unfunded pension liability because previous lawmakers made promises that they could not keep. Going forward, we need to ensure that taxpayers

The Governor should call for a wage freeze for the duration of any new state contract with unionized employees. Illinois taxpayers cannot afford to pay pension on increased salaries, we have to live within our means. The Governor is there to protect the interests of the people of Illinois. The Union Leaders are there to enhance the contract for their members. Strong negotiators who have an interest in good policy and sustainable financial outcomes should be an important part of these discussions.

The governor should focus on moving new state workers to defined contribution pension plans. However, we must uphold the promises we made to current and retired state workers to continue to provide the benefits they depend on.

Need to reduce pension costs so the tax payers have reasonable chance to afford paying for the state pension liability. Change the yearly cost of living increase from 3% to the CPI. Switch all new hires to a 401 K plan. Same as what Illinois tax payers have to do to save for retirement.

Enact a wage freeze until .an agreement is accomplished. The State is behind $8.7 billion in bills and the taxpayers can not afford to go further in debt. We need pension and health care reforms!

The Governor should call for a wage freeze for the duration of any new state contract with unionized employees. Illinois taxpayers cannot afford to pay pension on increased salaries, we have to live within our means. The Governor is there to protect the interests of the people of Illinois. The Union Leaders are there to enhance the contract for their members. Strong negotiators who have an interest in good policy and sustainable financial outcomes should be an important part of these discussions.

The governor should focus on moving new state workers to defined contribution pension plans. However, we must uphold the promises we made to current and retired state workers to continue to provide the benefits they depend on.

I would remove the sick leave pension benefits. Right now, retiring teachers may add two years worth of sick days, upon retirement, resulting in an additional $165,000 more on average in pension benefits. With the average age of retirement in the Teachers Retirement System pension fund being 59-years old, it is unsustainable and unfair. The average retirement age in the private sector is 63-years old with no pension. We removed this perk from employee benefits at DuPage County and I will advocate removal at the state level. It's time for fairness for everyone across the state of Illinois by putting the public sector more in line with the private sector. Removing the perks in the teacher's pension system like the sick leave pension benefit would result in savings of approximately $4.3B

I believe that the Governor could hold wages stable during the duration of state contracts with these employees. As discussed above the unfunded pension liability is currently doing nothing but growing and we need to address these costs long term. Residents I have spoken to support pension and health care cost reforms while also monitoring state money flow.

I believe that the Governor could hold wages stable during the duration of state contracts with these employees. As discussed above the unfunded pension liability is currently doing nothing but growing and we need to address these costs long term. Residents I have spoken to support pension and health care cost reforms while also monitoring state money flow.

I would remove the sick leave pension benefits. Right now, retiring teachers may add two years worth of sick days, upon retirement, resulting in an additional $165,000 more on average in pension benefits. With the average age of retirement in the Teachers Retirement System pension fund being 59-years old, it is unsustainable and unfair. The average retirement age in the private sector is 63-years old with no pension. We removed this perk from employee benefits at DuPage County and I will advocate removal at the state level. It's time for fairness for everyone across the state of Illinois by putting the public sector more in line with the private sector. Removing the perks in the teacher's pension system like the sick leave pension benefit would result in savings of approximately $4.3B

The Governor wants Congress to assist Illinois by giving permission to the state to come up with cost saving changes to their pension programs. I would create a cost analysis of every new pension cost in each new contract negotiated so as a legislator, I along with my colleagues could determine the best cost-effective options as determined by the cost analysis.

Unions have worked hard and negotiated all the benefits they have received. I believe the state should pay the benefits that have been earned and promised. We need more money to fund the pensions — and need to stop the benefits from accruing and new people from entering pension plans. This will cost more money in the short term, but the benefits will be seen by the next generation.

The governor should emphasize and continue to push for pension reform. That's what I would do. I would also explore more talks on prevailing wages as applies to the public vs. private sectors.

Unions have worked hard and negotiated all the benefits they have received. I believe the state should pay the benefits that have been earned and promised. We need more money to fund the pensions — and need to stop the benefits from accruing and new people from entering pension plans. This will cost more money in the short term, but the benefits will be seen by the next generation.

I would negotiate better wages comparable to private sector in return for reduction in pension benefits.

The governor should emphasize and continue to push for pension reform. That's what I would do. I would also explore more talks on prevailing wages as applies to the public vs. private sectors.

I would negotiate better wages comparable to private sector in return for reduction in pension benefits.

The Governor wants Congress to assist Illinois by giving permission to the state to come up with cost saving changes to their pension programs. I would create a cost analysis of every new pension cost in each new contract negotiated so as a legislator, I along with my colleagues could determine the best cost-effective options as determined by the cost analysis.

The Governor needs to do a lot. First order of business would be to approach negotiations with a willingness to engage, build rapport and establish a partnership based on trust and respect. Then, the Governor must concentrate on four major issues in order to control the costs of pensions while in negotiations. Stop cost of living adjustments from exploding pension costs. Fight for fair and responsible limits on retirement age and payouts. Begin transitioning to 401k's for all new governmental employees. Same as I suggested to the Governor above.

The Governor needs to do a lot. First order of business would be to approach negotiations with a willingness to engage, build rapport and establish a partnership based on trust and respect. Then, the Governor must concentrate on four major issues in order to control the costs of pensions while in negotiations. Stop cost of living adjustments from exploding pension costs. Fight for fair and responsible limits on retirement age and payouts. Begin transitioning to 401k's for all new governmental employees. Same as I suggested to the Governor above.

The Governor should negotiate in good faith rather than trying to bust the union. To control pension costs during negotiations I would honor the current contract until the new contract is signed by both sides.

Having open and honest conversations are a great place to start. Put out all of the options and commit to properly funding whatever we finally decide. Appeal to the concerns of all involved; the state needs to do the best it can to fulfill the pension promises to made state workers while being clear that we may all need to give a little to make it work.