Lawmakers Approve Another Piece Of Pension Plan
State lawmakers have approved another piece of the pension reform puzzle. Yesterday, the Illinois House moved to delay and cut back annual cost-of-living increases for retirees.
Lawmakers said those annual increases are the big cost driver. Under the plan, the adjustments will be based only on the first $25,000 of a pension. Retirees can't get the increase until they reach 67, or have been retired for five years. It's the third component of pension reform the House is moving forward. The chamber is using a process to address the problem piece-by-piece.
Lawmakers also approved a $113,000 cap on the salary that can be used as the basis for a pension. They voted to raise the retirement age on a sliding scale from one to five years for employees 45 and younger.
The changes apply to four of the five public pension systems. They don't include judges.
"This is another sacrifice that we all have to make in the spirit of shared sacrifice in order to right our state's fiscal ship," Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D - Buffalo Grove) said.
"If this is such a good piece of legislation, it should include all five of our major pension systems," Rep. Dan Brady (R - Normal) said.
House Speaker Michael Madigan said his chamber is close to finalizing one comprehensive pension reform plan to move to the Senate for consideration. The question is: will both chambers be able to agree?
Wednesday, the Senate approved reform for teacher pensions. The reform gives employees a choice of accepting lower, delayed cost-of-living increases or turning down certain healthcare benefits and increases in the salary used to calculate a pension.
Lawmakers won't take any votes for a little while. After Friday, both chambers are adjourned for two weeks. In the meantime, the unfunded liability in the systems continues to grow toward $100 billion.
Story by NewsChannel20.
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