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Nekritz, Biss Introduce Sweeping Pension Reform Bill

Possible changes to the current Illinois pension system, as proposed by the bill, include shifting teacher pension obligations onto school districts, raising the retirement age and capping cost of living adjustments.

In an effort to curb the state's budget woes without bailing on current Illinois public sector pension obligations, a press release announced Illinois lawmakers Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) and Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) introduced House Bill 6258 in Springfield today.

"The pension debate has featured too much finger-pointing and progress has been disappointingly slow," Biss said in the release. "This bill contains ideas drawn from business, labor, and civic groups as well as our colleagues in the General Assembly. We believe that it is a roadmap for solving this problem in January..." 

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Changes to the state's public employee pension policy, as proposed by the bill inlclude: 

  • Allowing cost-of-living pension increases only for the first $25,000 of an employee’s pension.
  • Increasing employees’ retirement age up to five years, depending on current age.
  • Increasing employees’ pension contributions.
  • Placing new hires in a cash balance plan that combines the best features of defined contribution (or 401(k)) plans and defined benefit plans.
  • Further limiting legislators’ pension increases.
  • Gradually shifting teacher pension costs from the state to the school districts that determine salaries.

“Daniel and I understand this is a difficult issue for all of us, and we do not approach it lightly,” Nekritz said in the release. “We have supported other reform legislation and would definitely consider other good ideas moving forward."

Nekritz is chairwoman of the House Personnel and Pensions Committee and a key pension negotiator.

According to the press release, both legislators are calling for Springfield lawmakers to pass the bill before the current legislative term ends on Jan. 9.

Jac Charlier December 07, 2012 at 04:17 PM
The main point here is that 21 legislators with Biss and Nekritz at the head, did not wait for the house and senate leadership. This is huge in and of itself, and it absolutely to be commended. We The People means just that. Could it mark the beginning of an "Illinois thaw" in the icepack that is the IL house and senate leadership?

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