Batinick lauds positive comments from Moody’s about pension reform in Illinois budget

PLAINFIELD – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) today applauded comments made this week by Moody’s Investors Service which called Illinois’ newly-enacted state budget “credit positive,” because of its inclusion of pension reform language which Batinick supported.

“It has been a long time since we have heard the words ‘credit’ and ‘positive’ in the same sentence regarding Illinois’ finances,” Batinick said. “We still have a very long way to go, but this is an encouraging first step toward where we need to go.”

The state budget which passed on May 31 included the “Batinick Buyout,” a voluntary plan under which persons vested in the state pension system could choose to exchange all or part of their future pension benefits for a substantial cash payout which they could then re-invest in a manner of their choosing.

In the budget, more than $400 million in savings are anticipated from the buyout plan. Moody’s cited the buyout in its statement, noting that “it will generate significant pension liability savings to the extent that employees accept the offer.”

“Illinois has one of the lowest credit ratings among the 50 states due to years of fiscal mismanagement and our inability to pass a balanced budget or reform our pensions,” Batinick said. “Now we have finally taken a step toward turning things around.”

The budget takes effect on the first day of the new fiscal year, July 1.