Pritzker ready to sign plan to merge local pension funds

Illinois gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker stands with his Illinois gubernatorial Lieutenant Governor candidate Juliana Stratton as he speaks to reporters after sitting with high school students during a round table discussion at a creative workspace for women on October 1, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  — Illinois lawmakers have sent Gov. J.B. Pritzker a measure that merges 650 local police and fire pension systems to boost investment returns and save money.

The Senate voted 42-12 Thursday on the Democratic governor’s plan to create two statewide retirement programs for police employees and firefighters.

The funds’ combined assets would be $15 billion. Pritzker says the investment power would increase returns by $800 million to $2.5 billion in the first five years and save local governments money on administrative costs.

Republicans objected to a provision in Elgin Democratic Sen. Cristina Castro’s bill that increases benefits for employees hired after 2011. Cost-saving benefits offered so-called Tier 2 employees are too low to remain in compliance with federal Social Security guidelines.

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