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Archive → May 12th, 2017

Fix it!!!! Unfunded Pensions

At a time when everything coming out of the Illinois Senate seems to involve multibillion-dollar tax hikes, one senator is finally offering real reform for the state’s biggest fiscal crisis: its pension system.

State Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, has sponsored new legislation that would help state government workers take back control of their retirement savings. His bill has new state employees hired on or after July 1, 2018, enroll in a 401(k)-style plan, instead of forcing them into one of the worst-funded pension systems in the country.

Righter’s proposal also gives current workers covered by the state’s five retirement plans – state workers, teachers, university employees, judges and members of the General Assembly – the option to move into the 401(k)-style plan for benefits earned going forward.

Under the plan, state workers not covered by Social Security set aside a healthy 15 percent of their salary each pay period. Each worker contributes 8 percent of each paycheck into his or her own 401(k)-style account, and the state matches that contribution with another 7 percent.

For workers covered by Social Security, the contributions are 3 percent by each party.

Contributions to the plan are mandatory.

Righter’s plan is modeled on an Illinois retirement system that has existed for 20 years

A 401(k)-style retirement plan for state workers isn’t a novel concept – in fact, the solution has been right under lawmakers’ noses for nearly 20 years.

Righter’s plan is smart: He takes the one good retirement program already working in Illinois – an optional 401(k)-style plan for university workers – and he simply expands it for all state workers.

All concerns about constitutionality, viability and fairness are addressed because the program Righter leverages has existed in Illinois for nearly 20 years.

And more than 20,000 state university workers already have these 401(k)-style plans as their retirement plans. (State university workers are not covered by Social Security.)

Since 2012, 15 to nearly 20 percent of new state university workers have chosen to enroll in the 401(k)-style plan annually. That’s a lot of participants, considering the state pension plan, and not the 401(k)-style plan, is the automatic default offered by Illinois’ public universities and colleges when they hire new employees.

Workers who participate in the university plan do not have to depend on IOUs from House Speaker Mike Madigan, Mayor Rahm Emanuel or Gov. Bruce Rauner. Workers control their accounts, and those accounts are portable.

In a state where many pension plans are headed toward bankruptcy, it’s not fair that every state worker doesn’t have this option.

Righter’s proposal fixes that.

Self-managed 401(k)s give workers control

Righter also recognizes that everybody loses under the current pension system.

Government workers fear their pensions will eventually be slashed. Many of Illinois’ pension systems are nearing insolvency. Taxpayers are already tapped out, as they pay the nation’s highest property taxes. And people who rely on core government services are seeing their services cut as pensions now swallow 25 percent of the state budget.

Righter’s plan begins a process back toward normalcy.

These 401(k)-style plans won’t fix the legacy problems of pensions, but they will bring back certainty and transparency to the system as more and more workers join the program. Participating retirees can see their savings in retirement accounts they control. And both taxpayers and government budgets will finally know with certainty what their obligations are.

There’s much more to do to fix pensions – such as tackling the $130 billion debt that’s hanging over taxpayers. But that will only happen with constitutional changes or if the plans become insolvent.

Until then, this is the best plan that passes constitutional muster and that finally gives all workers retirement freedom, not just those in the current state universities 401(k)-style plan.

Ted Dabrowski

Vice President of Policy

Source: Will County News

Homer 33C students compete at robotics competition Bring home five awards, including 3rd place trophy

News Release
Homer CCSD 33C
Goodings Grove Luther J. Schilling William E. Young William J. Butler
Hadley Middle Homer Jr. High
Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager
| 708-226-7628
For Immediate Release:
May 12, 2017
Homer 33C students compete at robotics competition
Bring home five awards, including 3rd place trophy
An after-school project has earned a number of Homer 33C students high
honors for teamwork, team spirit and creativity.
Fourth-graders from Butler, Goodings Grove, Schilling and Young schools
recently competed in the 4-H Robotics Competition, showcasing the robots
they built in Homer 33C’s STEAM Ahead With Explorers’ LEGO Robotics
workshop.gg robotics 003.JPG
One team — a team from Goodings Grove — placed 3rd out of 31 teams
from Joliet, Plainfield, Shorewood, Homer Glen and Lockport. They were each
judged on teamwork, design and programming.
The competition was held April 29 at Joliet Junior College’s Weitendorf
Agricultural Education Center.
Students were given LEGO MINDSTORM EV3 kits to work with and
challenged to build robots (or Health Bots) that performed tasks related to
healthy living and healthy choices.
Some robots were programmed to jog; some were programmed to deliver
foods to a plate. Others were programmed to deliver vaccines to a hospital.
Each robot had to complete as many missions as possible in a three-minute
time period.
 gg robotics 006.JPG
Five Homer 33C teams from all four elementary schools took home awards.
They were:
Schilling School: Team Spirit Award
Butler School: Teamwork Award
Butler School: Most Creative Award
Young School: Judges Award
Goodings Grove: Reserve Champion Award
The competition was organized by the University of Illinois-Will County
Extension 4-H Club.
“Hopefully, we encouraged some future scientists,” said University of
Illinois Extension Educator Megan Walsh.
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Source: Will County News

Local Board Meetings May 2017

Public Health   Safety 5 4 2017


The Illinois Channel 5 5 2017


Will County Land Use 5 9 2017


Legislative   policy 5 9 2017


Lockport Township Budget 5 8 2017


Lockport Township meeting 5 8 2017


The Illinois Channel 5 5 2017


Forest Preserve 5 11 2017


Homer Glen 5 10 2017


Will County Executive Committee 5 11 2017


Source: Will County News

Trump News May 12, 2017

Watch President Donald J. Trump’s Weekly Address:


10:00 AM: President Trump meets with National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn
1:00 PM: Press Briefing with Press Secretary Sean Spicer – Watch Live
3:00 PM: President Trump meets with Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly
3:00 PM: Vice President Mike Pence participates in a horseback tour of the Absaloka Mine led by Crow Nation Tribal Leaders


Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order to establish the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The Commission will study the registration and voting processes used in Federal elections. It will be solely advisory and will submit a report to the President. Vice President Pence will chair the Commission.

President Trump also signed an Executive Order to strengthen the cybersecurity of Federal networks and critical infrastructure. This action maintains that it is the policy of the United States to manage cybersecurity risk as an executive branch enterprise.

The President sent two nominations to the Senate yesterday for Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, displays his signed Executive Order for the Establishment of a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, Thursday, May 21, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead).

Vice President Pence spoke yesterday at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians where he reaffirmed the President’s commitment to defending Christians and all who suffer for their beliefs across the wider world.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue hit the ground running on his first day on the job by meeting with USDA employees. From there, he joined President Trump at a Farmer’s Roundtable at the White House. Secretary Purdue’s message to American agriculture is, “If you grow it, we will sell it.”

Watch yesterday’s press briefing with Sarah Sanders:


“The total number of people collecting jobless benefits fell to the lowest level in 28½ years, a further sign of labor-market strength, government data showed.”Market Watch

Source: Will County News