Illinois Senate to debate $4 billion borrowing plan

November 4, 2010

by Sean Crawford

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Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (AP/File)

The Illinois State Senate is wasting little time getting back to work after the election. Senators return to Springfield Thursday to consider borrowing billions of dollars.

Lawmakers left the Capitol in the Spring without providing the money to cover the state's public pension contribution for the fiscal year. Borrowing as much as $4 billion will be on the Senate's agenda Thursday.  The House already approved the plan.

Senate president John Cullerton said, "The Governor asked us to come back in as soon as possible after the election.  They would like to have this pension issue resolved."

Some legislators were concerned about voting for more borrowing in advance of the election for fear voters would view it as irresponsible.  There's no guarantee they'll back the idea now.  But the state failing to deposit money into its pensions also carries risk.  The pension systems have had to sell off assets to pay retirees, reducing their long term investment potential.