Plainfield – An Illinois Supreme Court ruling announced on Thursday, March 24, struck down pending Illinois law aimed at reducing unfunded pension obligations in Chicago. Analyses showed that the Chicago Municipal and Chicago Laborers’ Funds were projected to become insolvent by 2024 and 2028, and rejected the law that had been pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to address the severe underfunding of these systems. The measure would have reduced the retirement benefits of current and future Tier I retirees, mostly through reducing the compounded 3% COLA, in addition to requiring current workers to pay more towards their retirement.

The Supreme Court rejected the bill for requiring the alterations to pensions, and not allowing pensioners’ their constitutional rights to control in the process. They did leave a small window open by citing, “Nothing prohibits an employee from knowing or voluntarily agreeing to modify pension benefits from an employer in exchange for valid consideration from the employer.”

State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) stated, “The Supreme Court’s ruling supports my proposal in that it gives pensioners valid consideration. They are free to keep their current pension as it is. I’ve spoken with the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability and my proposal saves significant money and pensioners keep their constitutional rights.”
 
 
Plainfield – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) was honored to attend a full assembly at Kennedy Middle School to discuss his first year in state government, and also answer questions from the cheerful group of 7th graders. He also helped applaud the students that scored high marks on their Constitutional exams.

Principal AJ Hundal opened the assembly with some wonderful remarks, highlighting his immigration to America at the age of 12, and the pride he felt in passing his own Constitutional test, which allowed him to be sworn in as a Citizen of the United States. He introduced Rep. Batinick as a member in the process of democracy, and an individual excited to explain all that democracy does for Americans.

 Rep. Batinick stated, “I truly enjoyed meeting with so many kids and some of their parents and teachers for what was a fantastic awards assembly. They even brought out the band and chorus, which played and sang wonderfully. I wanted to reiterate much of what Principal Hundal had to say about appreciating all that we had in America, and I wanted the kids to understand that the number one job in government is with the people. Democracy isn’t a spectator sport, and it’s the job of all citizens, and the people that represent them, to remain in communication so that the will of the people is understood. It was important to me that the kids understand that soon they will be voters, and it’s important they express their concerns and be active participants in their government and community. I thank them for listening to me and showing such great school camaraderie.”

Rep. Batinick elaborated on questions from the middle schoolers that included his work in Springfield, his favorite and most difficult tasks, and his motive in becoming a State Representative. He then helped applaud students for their accomplishments on their Constitutional exams, and helped hand out their medals.

Social Studies teacher Donna Hebreard said, “I thank Rep. Batinick for coming in and speaking on the government and social aspects that we teach about every day, and the issues surrounding them, and being an active participant in them. This was a great assembly for our students and their parents to enjoy.”

Please Click Here for Video of the Question & Answer portion of the Assembly.
 
 

 


 
Comptroller's tax refund insert outlines government spending, revenues
 
CHICAGO - As her office begins issuing state income tax refunds, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger urged taxpayers to register online to check the status of their refunds and sign up for text message and email payment notifications.
 
The easy-to-use Tax Refund Alert System allows taxpayers to visit myrefund.illinoiscomptroller.gov and enter their name and Social Security Number to see if the Comptroller's Office has processed their refund. Taxpayers also can enter an email address and phone number to receive a notification when the payment has been made.
 
In addition, Munger announced her office will include inserts with all tax refunds detailing where the State of Illinois spent $35.6 billion in 2015, information on the state's bill backlog, and other tools to help taxpayers learn about state and local finances. Those who receive their tax refunds through Direct Deposit may view the tax insert digitally if they register for the Tax Refund Alert System.
 
"Taxpayers deserve to know when they will receive their tax refunds. By visiting myrefund.illinoiscomptroller.gov and registering for our tax refund alert system, they can track the status of their refund while monitoring where the state government spends their tax dollars," Munger said. "The Comptroller's Office will continue to focus on making government more efficient, transparent, and accessible while offering taxpayer-friendly tools to help our citizens follow the money."
Before adjourning for a month, Republican State Rep. Tom Demmer motioned to bring back session tomorrow so that legislators can continue to work and solve the budget impasse. House rules require this to be voted on. The speaker ruled the motion "out of order" even though it wasn't. The Republicans wanted to stay and work. The Democrats broke the rules and chose to leave.

 
This week in Springfield, State Representative Mark Batinick was thrilled to present House Bill 4427 to the Personnel and Pensions Committee on Monday, which contains his constitutional pensions proposal. More hearings on the proposal are to be scheduled.

See below for its coverage in committee and in statewide publications: