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Nekritz, Biss Introduce Sweeping Pension Reform Bill

Possible changes to the current Illinois pension system, as proposed by the bill, include shifting teacher pension obligations onto school districts, raising the retirement age and capping cost of living adjustments.

In an effort to curb the state's budget woes without bailing on current Illinois public sector pension obligations, a press release announced Illinois lawmakers Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) and Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) introduced House Bill 6258 in Springfield today.

"The pension debate has featured too much finger-pointing and progress has been disappointingly slow," Biss said in the release. "This bill contains ideas drawn from business, labor, and civic groups as well as our colleagues in the General Assembly. We believe that it is a roadmap for solving this problem in January..." 

Changes to the state's public employee pension policy, as proposed by the bill inlclude: 

  • Allowing cost-of-living pension increases only for the first $25,000 of an employee’s pension.
  • Increasing employees’ retirement age up to five years, depending on current age.
  • Increasing employees’ pension contributions.
  • Placing new hires in a cash balance plan that combines the best features of defined contribution (or 401(k)) plans and defined benefit plans.
  • Further limiting legislators’ pension increases.
  • Gradually shifting teacher pension costs from the state to the school districts that determine salaries.

“Daniel and I understand this is a difficult issue for all of us, and we do not approach it lightly,” Nekritz said in the release. “We have supported other reform legislation and would definitely consider other good ideas moving forward."

Nekritz is chairwoman of the House Personnel and Pensions Committee and a key pension negotiator.

According to the press release, both legislators are calling for Springfield lawmakers to pass the bill before the current legislative term ends on Jan. 9.

Malta December 06, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Hmmm. "Legislators" made this mess ....I see they now want illegal aliens to have drivers licenses.... Lets shift the cost of the " legislators" pay onto a tax the illegals would have to pay for their licenses....!
chris December 06, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Illinois has been ethically bankrupt for decades and now finds itself bereft of the tax revenues necessary to continue the patronage hiring and bid rigging schemes that have kept these overpaid, underworked AFSCME/SEIU crooks out canvassing and voting for them. They're still using the old "pay to play" policies. But the private sector finally figured out they were paying to have the public sector playing, and they have moved out. Illinois is mortally wounded and going through the last convulsive fits of death.
Gary December 06, 2012 at 04:00 PM
It has been standard practice for decades to spike teachers' salaries right before retirement to permanently boost their pension payouts. This is fraud, and they can not claim to have "earned" that portion of their pension. I say that before anyone else is asked to put another dime into this system, that all State employees' pensions get rolled back to where they would be if the salary spiking fraud hadn't occurred. We also need to end the practice of salary spiking altogether to prevent more fraud in the future. This would show that the State employees are willing to deal honestly with the people who are being forced to pay for their retirement. If they are not willing to accept this, then I say dump all the pension assets on the unions and let them sort it out among themselves.
Deadcatbounce December 06, 2012 at 04:15 PM
And if you look at all the teachers contracts in the Chicago suburban area, you will notice that the salary spike continues for almost all districts. An automatic 6% raise the last four years of the teacher's career.
chris December 06, 2012 at 05:45 PM
It goes so far beyond that though. For decades politicians have used taxpayer funds to finance huge patronage armies. If you had a job with the city of Chicago or the State of Illinois, you were forced to canvass on behalf of your democratic employers. You were given books of "fund raising tickets" that you either sold or ate yourself if you wanted to keep your job. Purchasing these tickets was the grease that got you what you wanted from public servants. Construction crews bought a couple $20 tickets and the sanitation worker would throw $200 worth of debris in the garbage truck saving the construction company $160 in scavenger service fees and we the taxpayer subsidized that difference. To become mayor in Chicago, you had to overcome an incumbent with thousands of paid canvassers and fund raisers all funded by the taxpayers. It's how Daley stayed in power so long.
marco sangria December 07, 2012 at 12:52 AM
looks like Madigan got 2 stooges to set the stage to shift the pension responsibilities for teachers to the schoold districts. Watch it will happen and the idiots that run the asylum will keep right on spending.
Willie Wilmette December 07, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Social Security is based on many years, not just the last 3. The same should be true for teachers. Didn't the unions back Nekritz & Biss? Why are they not pro worker now?
Gary December 07, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Willie, that's a great idea. Let's take it one step further. Take whatever each State employee put into the retirement system and use the same calculation they use to calculate our Social Security benefits, and tell them they have to live with that. They keep complaining they don't get Social Security benefits. Fine... let's move them over to our wonderful plan. If it's good enough for the rest of us, it should be good enough for State employees. There's a whole bunch of perfectly fair good ideas out there that can get this problem fixed without destroying your property values.

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