The Dwight Prison is slated for closure along with the Tamms supermax Prison. (WJBC file photo)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
BLOOMINGTON - With no action from the Illinois House on prison funding, facilities including the Dwight and Tamms Prisons are still slated for closure.
While the state and American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees battle in court over the planned closure, money is still needed in the budget for now to keep the facilities running. State Rep. Jason Barickman (R-Champaign) said because the sites were slated for closure, there's no appropriation.
"We're spending money, nothing has been appropriated and I think what we're going to see in the coming weeks is Gov. Quinn pushing to spend new dollars on DCFS or other services and so we're going to spend even more money," Barickman said.
The Illinois House didn't consider an override vote Wednesday before adjourning on the last day of veto session. A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan said the speaker didn't think it was necessary action to take on the override.
Barickman said he thinks Madigan didn't call the override because some of his targeted members were going to have a tough vote.
New pension package
Barickman said the pension reform package proposed by about two dozen lawmakers Thursday has some good aspects. The proposal would reduce cost of living increases for retirees and require workers to contribute more to their retirement. Younger employees would have to work longer, and some costs for teacher pensions would shift to school districts.
Barickman said rank-and-file lawmakers coming up with a bill together is a good step.
"The power that is concentrated in just a handful of individuals, if those individuals don't get along- and I think right now we're seeing that (House Minority Leader Tom) Cross and Madigan just don't see eye-to-eye, there might be an opportunity for us as rank-and-file members to work together," Barickman said.
The state's pensions are currently $95 billion underfunded.
Stephanie Pawlowski can be reached at Stephanie.Pawlowski@Cumulus.com