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The 2015 Pension 40: Bruce Rauner

No. 1 Bruce Rauner, Governor / Illinois

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

1. Bruce Rauner
2. John & Laura Arnold
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
3. Chris Christie
New Jersey
4. Randi Weingarten
AmericanFederation of Teachers
5. Phyllis Borzi
U.S. Department
of Labor
6. Kevin de León
7. Alejandro García Padilla
Commonwealth ofPuerto Rico
8. Laurence Fink
9. Rahm Emanuel
10. Sean McGarvey
North AmericanBuilding Trades Unions
11. John Kline
12. J. Mark Iwry
U.S. Treasury
13. Damon Silvers
14. Jeffrey Immelt
Electric Co.
15. Joshua Gotbaum
Brookings Institution
16. Robin Diamonte
United Technologies Corp.
17. Mark Mullet
18. Terry O'Sullivan
Laborers' International Union of North America
19. Raymond Dalio
Bridgewater Associates
20. Ted Wheeler
21. Thomas Nyhan
Central States Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund
22. Karen Ferguson & Karen Friedman
Pensions Rights Center
23. Randy DeFrehn
National Coordinating Committee forMultiemployer Plans
24. Robert O'Keef
Motorola Solutions
25. Caitlin Long
Morgan Stanley
26. Kenneth Feinberg
The Law Offices
of Kenneth R. Feinberg
27. Orrin Hatch
28. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Center for Retirement Initiatives, Georgetown University
29. Ian Lanoff
Groom Law Group
30. Joshua Rauh
Stanford Graduate School of Business
31. Ted Eliopoulos
California Public Employees' Retirement System
32. Edward (Ted) Siedle
Benchmark Financial Services
33. Teresa Ghilarducci
New School for Social Research
34. Denise Nappier
35. W. Thomas Reeder Jr.
Pension BenefitGuaranty Corp.
36. Hank Kim
National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems
37. Paul Singer
Elliott Management Corp.
38. Bailey Childers
National PublicPension Coalition
39. Amy Kessler
Prudential Financial
40. Judy Mares
U.S. Labor Department

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