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State Rep. Biss to Host Pension Forum Tonight

State Rep. Daniel Biss discusses 'The Long Road to Pension Reform: What is ‘Cost Shift’ and Why Does It Matter?', at 7 p.m. at Temple Beth Israel in Skokie. Legislators return to Springfield Aug. 17 for a special pension reform session.

Among the many hotly debated topics in Springfield, legislators will attempt to reach consensus on pension reform tomorow at a special session scheduled by Gov. Quinn. 

Tonight, State Rep. Daniel Biss will hold a public forum to discuss the issues. Titled "The Long Road to Pension Reform: What is 'Cost Shift' and Why Does it Matter?", the community dialogue is the most recent in a series of public forums hosted by Biss and is open to all. 

The forum was originally scheduled at but to accomodate mass interest from the community, the event will now be held at in Skokie, 3601 W. Dempster St. 

Guest speakers include Erika Lindley, executive director of the Illinois school lobby group ED-RED; Dick Ingram, executive director of the Teachers’ Retirement System; and Louis Kosiba, executive director of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

In Evanston, pension reform could have a direct affect on budgets for District 65 and Evanston Township High School. House Speaker Michael Madigan's plan would shift some of the burden of pension costs to the local school districts. Representatives from both districts agreed last week to issue a statement opposing the cost-shifting measure, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Biss has said he support's pension reform, however, and voted this spring for Madigan's proposal, the Tribune reports.

According to the Tenth Dems website, participants can expect an "informative and lively discussion."

Will you attend the forum? If you could participate in Thursday's Illinois General Assembly discussion on the topic, what would you share with legislators? Share with us in the comments or sound off on Facebook! 

Eric Lieberman August 17, 2012 at 05:48 PM
I attended Rep. Biss' Town Hall Meeting Thursday night in Skokie. It was a bittersweet event. Approximately 200 people - mostly white and older - filled the sanctuary at Beth Israel. Biss and the three panel members - Erika Lindley, executive director of the Illinois school lobby group ED-RED; Dick Ingram, executive director of the Teachers’ Retirement System; and Louis Kosiba, executive director of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund - did a good job of addressing the technicalities of the pension "crisis". It was a sobering meeting - long on facts but short on hope that there was any simple and painless way out of this mess. Most memorable of the evenings comments were the following. Rep. Biss was doubtful about any quick solutions: "Everyone in Springfield likes to talk about reform," he said, "but no one wants to vote for it." He also accepted "institutional blame" for the behavior of the state assembly that has gotten us into this debacle. "How did we do this?" Biss asked. "We lied, we lied and we lied". Dick Ingram, who came to run Illinois' Teacher Retirement System about 18 months ago after heading up New Hampshire's system, emphasized that the ideas being circulated about cost shifting, conversion to defined contribution plans, etc., addressed only the normal "go forward" obligations of the plan. "No one has proposed anything that will address the $42 billion in existing unfunded obligations" he said. Eric Lieberman www.expectmore.us

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