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Pension Reform Proposal Narrowly Passes Senate
The unfunded liability in the state's public pension systems is a nearly $100 billion problem. Today, a proposal for reform narrowly passed at the statehouse.
The Senate approved a new proposal filed today without a single vote to spare. In fact, lawmakers passed it on a second attempt, after it failed on the first try.
Senate President John Cullerton is sponsoring a package of reforms. The first, which passed today, overhauls teacher pensions. It gives employees a choice of accepting lower, delayed cost-of-living adjustments or declining certain healthcare benefits and increases in salary a pension can be based on.
Cullerton said it will save the state $18 billion over the next 30 years.
"Some will argue the legislative measures before us are too harsh," Cullerton said. "Others insist they don't do enough. But we've reached a crossroads. We've had enough debate on these issues."
"Retirees in one group, being teachers, being different than retirees in another group, raises an equal protection issue that would be problematic," Sen. Matt Murphy (D - Palatine) said.
Cullerton also introduced an outline to reform the other four public pension systems. It increases the retirement age and employee contributions. He didn't call it for a vote today, but said he'll continue to advocate for it.
Earlier today, the Senate voted down a comprehensive proposal that would have shifted the cost of teacher and state university worker pensions to the schools.
See how individual lawmakers voted on pension reform.