Senate passes pension reform legislation

The Illinois Senate has passed pension reform legislation that could save taxpayers well over $1 billion per year, according to State Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria).

“I’m glad to see that we have a broad understanding of how important this issue is to our state’s future,” said Sen. Weaver. “Pensions are the single biggest cost in our budget and they are continuing to grow. This will allow us to begin to get these costs under control.” 

Estimates currently place the state’s unfunded pension liability at more than $100 billion dollars, the worst in the nation. Previously, a bipartisan pension reform bill passed in 2013, but was ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2015.

The current version was developed through bipartisan talks between Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Senate President John Cullerton, and was designed to work with the very strict wording of the Illinois Constitution.

Without reforms, the current year’s pension payment is estimated at $7.9 billion.

“Pension payments are eating up a quarter of our budget, that is just not sustainable,” said Senator Weaver. “This will allow us to put more money into classrooms for education, repair roads, and help our most vulnerable citizens. This is a huge step for Illinois.”

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