Local News

Illinois House approves major pension reform bill

The Illinois House today approved a major change in the state pension system that could save an estimated $100 billion by cutting down the exponential growth of automatic cost-of-living increases for retiree paychecks.

The 66-50 roll call represented the most far-reaching vote taken in the spring legislative session on pension reform and sends the measure to the Senate, which just approved a much less ambitious pension bill.

Political opposition remains strong, however, and prospects for the measure are uncertain. Illinois lawmakers have for years debated how to deal with the nation’s most underfunded public employee pension system without taking major action.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, still would need to pass a Senate that has strong qualms about its constitutionality. But the measure was characterized repeatedly by supporters as a key component of any overhaul because it attacks the annual increases that are the biggest cost drivers in the pension system.

Under the proposal, automatic annual cost of living increases for state workers and teachers would only be applied to the first $25,000 of a person’s pension rather than the entire amount if it is higher. A retiree also would not get an annual cost-of-living increase until they have been retired for at least five years or until they are 67.

By Ray Long and Rafael Guerrero Tribune reporters



Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC


12 Comments to “Illinois House approves major pension reform bill”

    Cannabis Reform said:
    March 21, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Great, now go approve House Bill 0001.

      Fed up said:
      March 21, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      So, we can't afford our cops, teachers, and firefighters, but we can continue to she'll out money for welfare, Medicaid, and politicians massive salaries.

        Cannabis Reform said:
        March 21, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        I guess so. I just hope they act to legalize cannabis in this state.

        Joymar said:
        March 21, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        Teachers are not in the same league as police and firefighters!

        Fed up said:
        March 21, 2013 at 8:11 PM

        Being one of the last two that you mentioned, when teachers teach at low income schools, it's sometimes just as dangerous and frustrating as being a cop or ff.

    Guest said:
    March 21, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Question.. does any word typed in as a comment that has ass in it get asterisks?

      Fed up said:
      March 21, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      I believe it does

      318mopar said:
      March 21, 2013 at 6:59 PM


    Just Me said:
    March 21, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    This is classic Illinois "look, we passed a bill" politics. Good luck with the constitutionality of it, if it even makes it to the Governor's desk. Besides that, decreasing the peon's pensions won't fix what got Illinois in this mess; "borrowing" from pension funds, and deferring payments to maintain a workable balance. Both need to be made illegal, or this will just happen again.

    Fock u wgn said:
    March 21, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Seriously wgn. You removed my comment that was completely unoffensive and mocked how you asterisked words like c-l-a-s-s and p-a-s-s. Go fock yourselves!

    retiredinaz1 said:
    March 21, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    I doubt if it will pass….there would be a huge lawsuit as th law states you cannot mess with state pensions :)

    Curious said:
    March 21, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    I am curious for those of you who are against pension reform how should we fix the state finances. We either have to cut spending or increase income. If you choose the income what is the best income, sales, real estate or corporate. Also I find it offensive that anyone here would insinuate that one group of pension folks "teachers" are less deserving than others "police and fire". All are important. The bottom line is that the voters are to blame because you continued to elect bad officials

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