The 2015 Pension 40: Bruce Rauner

No. 1 Bruce Rauner, Governor / Illinois

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< The 2015 Pension 40: The Long Climb

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Bruce Rauner
Governor / Illinois
Last year: 1

Bruce Rauner, 58, inherited more than just a $4 billion unbalanced budget and imploding credit ratings when, backed by Chicago business interests led by Citadel’s Kenneth Griffin, he became governor of Illinois in January. He also got the most underfunded state pension system in the U.S., with only 43.4 percent of benefits bankrolled, compared with 55 percent in the second-worst state, Connecticut. Illinois has been operating without a budget since July because of a stalemate between the Republican governor and the Democrat-controlled legislature. In an effort to shrink the state’s now-$6.9 billion debt by “a couple of billion” dollars a year, Rauner, former chairman of Chicago private equity firm GTCR, released a 500-page pension reform bill in July that rattled many cages, from the Chicago Teachers Union to Democratic state senators. Rauner laid out plans to effectively reduce benefits for police, firefighters and teachers, and remove state and local workers’ pensions from collective bargaining. Critics howled, arguing that the plan was unconstitutional, just like former Democratic governor Pat Quinn’s 2013 pension revamp, which the Illinois Supreme Court knocked down in May 2014, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s (No. 9) plan, which a Cook County circuit court voided in July 2015. A legal challenge undoubtedly awaits. Meanwhile, the state can’t release the $560 million November pension payment because of what the Chicago Tribune called a grotesque stalemate; the Illinois’ comptroller has warned that the debt could balloon to $8.5 billion by year-end if a deal isn’t reached. Rauner, a Harvard Business School graduate, was elected on a pro-business, antiunion platform. His campaign promised to cap the current pension system, shift to a defined contribution structure and check near-retirement wage hikes for government employees. Getting any of that done has proved to be difficult. And Rauner finds himself trapped in the no-win zone of a pension crisis.


The 2015 Pension 40

Sponsored

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1. Bruce Rauner
Illinois

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2. John & Laura Arnold
Laura and John Arnold Foundation

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3. Chris Christie
New Jersey

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4. Randi Weingarten
AmericanFederation of Teachers

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5. Phyllis Borzi
U.S. Department
of Labor

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6. Kevin de León
California

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7. Alejandro García Padilla
Commonwealth ofPuerto Rico

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8. Laurence Fink
BlackRock

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9. Rahm Emanuel
Chicago

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10. Sean McGarvey
North AmericanBuilding Trades Unions

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11. John Kline
Minnesota

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12. J. Mark Iwry
U.S. Treasury
Department

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13. Damon Silvers
AFL-CIO

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14. Jeffrey Immelt
General
Electric Co.

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15. Joshua Gotbaum
Brookings Institution

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16. Robin Diamonte
United Technologies Corp.

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17. Mark Mullet
Washington

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18. Terry O’Sullivan
Laborers’ International Union of North America

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19. Raymond Dalio
Bridgewater Associates

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20. Ted Wheeler
Oregon

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21. Thomas Nyhan
Central States Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund

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22. Karen Ferguson & Karen Friedman
Pensions Rights Center

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23. Randy DeFrehn
National Coordinating Committee forMultiemployer Plans

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24. Robert O’Keef
Motorola Solutions

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25. Caitlin Long
Morgan Stanley

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26. Kenneth Feinberg
The Law Offices
of Kenneth R. Feinberg

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27. Orrin Hatch
Utah

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28. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Center for Retirement Initiatives, Georgetown University

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29. Ian Lanoff
Groom Law Group

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30. Joshua Rauh
Stanford Graduate School of Business

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31. Ted Eliopoulos
California Public Employees’ Retirement System

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32. Edward (Ted) Siedle
Benchmark Financial Services

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33. Teresa Ghilarducci
New School for Social Research

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34. Denise Nappier
Connecticut

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35. W. Thomas Reeder Jr.
Pension BenefitGuaranty Corp.

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36. Hank Kim
National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems

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37. Paul Singer
Elliott Management Corp.

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38. Bailey Childers
National PublicPension Coalition

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39. Amy Kessler
Prudential Financial

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40. Judy Mares
U.S. Labor Department


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