IL Senate President Cullerton offers new pension reform plan

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton has rolled out the latest proposal to fix the state’s pension crisis.

Cullerton, (D)- Chicago, says his new plan is backed by the state employees’ unions and could possibly avoid a legal challenge from the unions.

The proposal would basically allow current employees and retirees to choose between scaled back cost of living increases and whether they would get health care coverage in retirement.

This proposal comes just days after a plan offered by House Speaker Michael Madigan won approval in the House.

Madigan’s plan passed Friday by two votes and requires government employees to contribute more, retire later and cuts cost of living increases.
Cullerton released a statement, calling his plan “the best chance for the General Assembly to pass a clearly constitution proposal that will save money and avoid an expensive and lengthy court battle.”

He added “we must calculate the risk associated with passing a plan that could save zero if the court throws it out. We need to remember that the unilateral approach is a gamble.  Betting against the constitution is risky.”

Cullerton says his plan would save about $46 billion, while Madigan’s plan would save about $150 billion.   The Senate could begin debate on Cullerton`s plan Tuesday and possibly vote on it by Thursday.

The General Assembly will adjourn in less than four week and the state pension system is underfunded by almost $100 billion and is the worst in the nation.

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