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Fri Dec 7, 2018, 05:51 AM

Tillman claims he wants to work with Democrats on pension reform

Illinois Policy Institute stands corrected. Five years after the conservative think tank criticized lawmakers for passing a pension bill it once called “grossly inadequate,” the group has changed its mind. "It turns out it was pretty darn good,” John Tillman, CEO of IPP, told POLITICO. His organization recently revisited SB1, the bill that passed in 2013 but was found unconstitutional in 2015.

Tillman said the measure would have saved somewhere between $1.1 billion and $1.4 billion a year in 2016, 2017 and 2018. “It would have put the state on a much better path to fully funding pensions,” he said, crediting Democratic state Rep. Elaine Nekritz for shepherding the bill and the bipartisan nature of it.

IPI’s turnaround signals an olive branch toward Democrats and the state's new administration. And it follows a tumultuous four years working with Gov. Bruce Rauner. The anti-union, anti-tax group appeared aligned with Rauner when he first took office. That changed when the governor signed the controversial HB40 abortion law—after he said he wouldn’t. Tillman called him a “failed” leader. Their relationship spiraled downward.

Some political observers say IPI’s impact did, too. Tillman disagrees. “What creates our influence is our ability to engage Illinois citizens who in turn contact their lawmakers. That hasn’t changed.”

Read more: https://www.politico.com/newsletters/illinoisplaybook

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