Proposed pension fix-up tough for teachers

Aug 14, 2013

The authors of a new study say a proposal to fix Illinois' nearly 100-billion-dollar pension shortfall would undermine the retirement security of government employees and make it tougher for schools to attract qualified teachers.

The study, released Wednesday, was co-authored by an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the director of the Keystone Research Center, a labor-affiliated research group. Keystone's Stephen Herzenberg says the proposal, backed by several Illinois university presidents, relies too much on cutting retirees' annual cost-of-living increases:

"Eighty percent of projected savings from their proposal are wrung from retired teachers, professors, and other public servants. The longer these retirees live into retirement, the harder it will be for them to make ends meet."

The plan is being considered by a bipartisan conference committee trying to address the pension problem. But committee members have said it's just a framework for their discussions and will likely be tweaked.