Tue January 8, 2013
Pension Overhaul Remains Up In The Air
A proposed overhaul cleared a House committee Monday. But the full House adjourned for the day without taking action. Observers say legislative leaders are trying to round up of enough votes for the bill to pass.
Lawmakers are trying to advance a proposal before a new General Assembly is sworn-in Wednesday. The plan would also need Senate approval before the deadline.
The measure would require state employees, teachers and university workers to put 2 percent more of their paychecks into their retirement plans. Workers wouldn't get yearly benefit increases until they're 67, and current retirees would have to go six years without those cost-of-living bumps.
Republican Representative Bob Pritchard of Sycamore says while he's concerned about some elements of the bill, something has to be done.
"I regret that kind of change is being debated, but we have to make some changes for this system to survive" Pritchard said.
Illinois has the worst funded pension system in the country. Union leaders have voiced opposition to many overhaul proposals, saying they’re unconstitutional. They say public workers shouldn’t be punished because the state didn’t pay its part for years.