A group of 20 lawmakers, most of whom are House Democrats, is pushing a newly introduced pension reform plan. The proposal includes bits and pieces from other pension reform plans introduced this session and it is being called the most comprehensive proposal to date. The proposal would reduce cost-of-living increases for retirees and require workers to contribute more to their retirement, and younger employees would have to work to a higher retirement age.
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The plan also includes a guarantee Illinois will meet its funding obligations. The state’s pension obligation is currently $95 billion underfunded. The plan does include a proposal to shift the cost of teacher pensions onto Downstate and suburban school districts, community colleges and universities. Downstate Republicans say that is a non-starter for them. Of the 20 lawmakers signed in support of the proposal, only two are Republicans, and they hail from the Chicago suburbs. The plan also faces opposition from Democrats in the Illinois Senate, who question the constitutionality of the proposal.
The bill sponsor, State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook), says she and the other lawmakers who back the plan will spend the next month trying to round up support in hopes of calling the bill for a vote in early January.