On December 3rd, the Illinois General Assembly passed a pension reform bill during a special session. This compromise was a result of the conference committee process that began earlier this summer. Leadership of both parties crafted a bill that will produce significant savings and will begin the process of getting our state finances back on track. A court challenge is expected, which will provide clarity on the relevant constitutional issues. Updates on judicial proceedings will be posted here as they become available.
Information regarding the bill, the effect it will have on individuals and Kelly’s statement on the bill can be viewed on this page.
For any questions on components of the bill or the effects it will have, please contact the district office at 773-784-2002 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statement on Bill Passage
On December 3rd, the Illinois General Assembly met in special session to debate the latest proposal to reform our state’s unfunded pension liability. Since I took office, I have advocated for protections for lower and middle class workers and retirees. While this bill could certainly have done more for those people, I believe that this was the best possible compromise we could achieve. Having served on an appropriations committee through the last two budgets, it is clear that our state’s fiscal situation is beyond dire. The cuts we have made haven’t begun to touch this crisis, and I have come to the conclusion that as painful as it is, we simply can not continue to cut heartbreakingly essential services and not look to these benefits for savings as well.
This was the most difficult decision I have had to make during my time in Springfield. Over the last two sessions, I have worked closely with all involved stakeholders to develop an understanding of the issues involved in the debate. Since the framework of this proposal was released, I have studied it, spoken to colleagues and advocates on both sides of the issue, and carefully considered the impact of these cuts on the individuals involved. This bill has moved considerably from earlier versions. Under the original SB1, 72 percent of the savings were derived from benefit cuts. The conference committee report passed today reduces that reliance to 54 percent. Those cuts are targeted in ways that minimize or eliminate the impact on the lowest income retirees, and minimizes the impact on the middle income participants. The greatest impact of the COLA changes affect the highest pensions.
I genuinely believe this isn’t the complete solution to our fiscal crisis and hope that my colleagues who worked so hard to craft this proposal will put just as much effort into reforming our revenue system and bringing a fair tax system to our state that will both generate the revenues we need to function properly and bring tax relief to the majority of working families in our state.
This bill is not a perfect solution. However we will finally have an opportunity to get clarity on the constitutionality question from our court system and a chance to address the larger problem we face in our tax system. That said, I am eager to begin the fight for a fair tax system in Illinois.
Summary of Pension Bill
Page 1 contains a summary of provisions
Page 2-3 provides examples of the effect on various hypothetical individuals