Legislators passed a law overhauling the state's retirement systems. Soaring pension debt remains a concern. The law's constitutionality is also in question. It reduces workers' and retirees' benefits, and raises the retirement age.
The State Universities Annuitants Association, which lobbies to protect the pension benefits of higher education employees, and the Illinois Attorney General have reached a tentative agreement to push the start of pension reform for community college and university workers back until July 2015. The agreement must still be approved by a Sangamon County judge.
In a release, SUAA Executive Director Linda Brookhart says the deal addresses a critical issue:
This month, Illinois lawmakers took a major step in repairing the state's finances by approving a pension overhaul. The plan has its critics, including unions who promise to file a lawsuit. The courts will decide whether the pending changes violate the state's constitution.
Illinois' largest state government retirement system is moving ahead with implementation of the pension overhaul. The move comes even as unions are preparing a lawsuit.
Teachers Retirement System spokesman Dave Urbanek says the agency is preparing to implement the law when it goes into effect next year on June 1st.
TRS has been getting a lot of questions from concerned teachers, but there are no easy answers. Urbanek says every retiree will be treated differently depending on their pension amount and years of service.
Illinois lawmakers approved a pension overhaul Tuesday. The Senate passed the plan 30 - 24, and the House approved it on a 62 - 53 vote. Governor Pat Quinn has indicated he will sign this bill, which is intended to save $160-billion over the next three decades.
House Speaker Michael Madigan talked to reporters about pensions during the end of the spring legislative session; he and Senate President John Cullerton were at odds then over how to deal with the state's underfunded retirement systems.
Earlier this week, legislative leaders announced a deal to bring a pension overhaul before the full chambers. It is estimated to save $160 billion over the next 30 years. Illinois has the nation's most underfunded retirement systems.
On Friday, the leaders' staff sent around the memo below that highlights changes for public employee pensions. Lawmakers are expected in Springfield to vote on legislation Tuesday, December 3. Employee unions have already indicated opposition and if it passes, a legal challenge is likely.
Employee councils from NIU co-hosted a forum Wednesday, which included several area state lawmakers. The event was viewed as an opportunity for NIU faculty to offer their thoughts as the General Assembly continues to explore how to fix Illinois' troubled pension system.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is seeking a direct appeal to the state's high court, as he tries to withhold legislators' pay.
Quinn vetoed legislators' salaries because he says they don't deserve it until they've passed a pension overhaul.
But a lower court ruled that's unconstitutional.
In a brief that asks the Illinois Supreme Court to hear the case, the Quinn administration argues that it is too early for the judiciary to intervene with his veto because the General Assembly never took a vote attempting to override him.