State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) has signed on as co-sponsor of a compromise pension reform plan modeled on a proposal that received bipartisan support in the summer of 2016. While compromises have yet to be reached on issues like property tax relief, jobs legislation, and spending reductions, some are calling on legislators to come to an agreement on other issues, like pension reform, to move the state forward.
“Our pension systems have been chronically underfunded for years and, frankly, it’s left us with quite a mess. It’s time we tackle this issue and get some real reforms in place,” said Brady. “This plan will save $1 billion now, and another billion down the road. That’s a good deal for the people of Illinois.
“The reforms contained in this package have received bipartisan support in the past, and as we continue to discuss a more comprehensive budget solution, I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle can join us to get them passed now to offer some much needed relief to the taxpayers of Illinois.”
The pension reform package contains two pieces of legislation, Senate Bill 2172, and 2173 which blend pension reform concepts that have been supported by both Governor Bruce Rauner and Senate President John Cullerton.
Senate Bill 2172 includes the Tier 3 and budgetary items of SB16 along with the text of SB 2822 from the previous General Assembly. It creates an optional hybrid Tier 3 for new hires, as well as a voluntary 401k program for active Tier 1 employees and an optional pension buy out provision. Additionally, the legislation institutes provisions designed to curb late-career salary spiking, and closes the General Assembly Retirement System pension plan to new entrants. Among other provisions, the legislation also provides $215 million for Chicago Public Schools pensions in Fiscal Year 2017.
The second component, SB 2173, includes the consideration model portions of SB16 previously proposed by Cullerton. This measure applies to active Tier 1 employees of the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS), the State Employee Retirement System (SERS), the State Universities Retirement System (SURS), the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), and the Chicago Teachers Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago (CTFP). Retirees are not impacted by this measure.