A Republican candidate for governor says Illinois still hasn’t solved its pension problem. Bruce Rauner is blasting the bill signed into law last week, claiming it won’t end up erasing the state’s $100 billion liability. Rauner believes the solution is to create a 401(k)-style retirement system for any public sector workers from this point on. While the latest reforms are set to be tested in court, Rauner believes his plan would be upheld.
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“I’m saying for your future work, from this day going forward in the future, you’re in a defined contribution plan. Nothing unethical about that, that’s not taking away any history. That’s not taking away an old agreement. It’s saying here’s the new contract for your new, future work for going forward. That’s constitutional.”
Rauner also says he’s concerned that the changes to cost of living adjustments in the new law will be declared unconstitutional, though his plan could eliminate COLAs altogether. If the law makes it through the courts, Rauner warns that it will be difficult to implement what he considers to be true pension reform.
The only Republican gubernatorial candidate in favor of the law, State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), responded to Rauner’s remarks by accusing him of being concerned only with losing a campaign issue. “Bruce Rauner wants a political issue, but we wanted a political solution to the worst funded pension system in the country, and that’s what we got,” Brady said. The other two Republican candidates, Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford and State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), were opposed to the law.