Top Illinois Senator Floats New Pension Proposal

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Illinois Senate President John Cullerton has introduced a new pension reform proposal for lawmakers to consider. The measure is a slightly tweaked version of a proposal the Senator floated two years ago.

Cullerton is trying to drum up support for the legislation in a bid to, against all odds, pass the bill before the session ends on May 31.

From the Chicago Tribune:

While details are still being worked out, Cullerton’s plan amounts to giving government workers a choice between keeping more generous yearly cost-of-living increases or continuing to count pay raises in calculating their retirement benefits.

[…]

The plan Cullerton floated Tuesday calls for giving employees a choice about their retirement benefits. Under the first scenario, a worker could choose to not have future pay increases factored into their pensions. In exchange, they would receive an annual 3 percent compounded cost-of-living pay increase. If they chose to count pay raises toward their pensions, workers would receive lower annual cost-of-living increases that are not compounded over time.

It’s a revamped version of a Cullerton proposal that passed the Senate in 2013 with union support that would have allowed employees and retirees to choose between compounded cost-of-living increases or health care benefits. That measure was never called for a vote in the House, as critics argued it would save about a third of the more sweeping proposal that ultimately became law but was struck down last week.

Cullerton believes the proposal is constitutional because, even though it scales back benefits, it gives workers something in return.

 

Photo by Chris Bentley via Flickr CC License

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