It's not clear Illinois lawmakers will come to an agreement on the pension problem anytime soon. But that's not stopping the Teachers' Retirement System from preparing for possible changes. One of the leading pension proposals would force employees to make a choice: give up state-backed health care in retirement, or accept lower pension cost-of-living increases.
Illinois has the worst-funded pension system in the country, and the General Assembly is trying to determine how to resolve the problem. What will Illinois state employees be saying about their retirement plans 30 years from now, based on decisions made today?
A labor union is demanding the resignation of the head of Illinois' teacher pension system. The union doesn't like what he's been saying about the future of teachers' retirement benefits. Richard Ingram says in order to solve the long-term funding problems of the Teachers' Retirement System, the state has to consider reducing automatic cost-of-living increases for retirees.
Governor Pat Quinn initially said a campaign dealing with public employee pensions would begin in August. Illinois owes $83 billion more in pensions than there is money available. That debt has prompted widespread calls for cuts to state employees' and teachers' benefits.
Both chambers consider limiting reform to lawmakesrs only No pension legislation will move through the General Assembly today. Legislators convened in Springfield for a special session on pensions, but the Senate has already adjourned without taking up any measures. Their website says the next session will be Nov. 27. The Illinois House was still in session at 5 p.m.