Pension Committee Closer to Proposal

Aug 26, 2013

Two Illinois lawmakers say they’re getting closer to proposing a pension plan that could save the state almost $150 billion dollars. IPR’s Patrick Smith has more.

Ten lawmakers on a special committee have been tasked with finding a compromise in the long-standing debate over funding the state’s troubled pension system. State Rep. Elaine Nekritz says the committee has come up with a preliminary outline that would reduce benefits with a savings of up to $146 billion dollars over 30 years. She says the pension costs have been eating into the budget for other state programs.

"This number will stop the increased percentage of the general revenue fund dedicated to the pensions."

The new outline calls for tying pay increases in retirement to inflation and reducing employee pension contributions by 1 percent. Labor groups have previously threatened to sue over certain pension reform proposals because the state constitution says pension benefits cannot be diminished. Meantime, the governor has suspended lawmakers’ pay until they come up with a pension plan. Nekritz says once the committee’s plan is unveiled she will then have to convince lawmakers to vote for it.