Illinois’ pension restructuring plan is now law – signed by the governor Thursday afternoon. The governor signed the measure in a private ceremony in his office in Chicago with legislative leaders and members of the conference committee on pension reform. Afterward, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) said it had to be done.
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“It was an important thing to do. No one liked having to be put in that position, that we are going to make some changes, touch changes to our retirement systems, but we understood that there was no option. We couldn’t let the systems collapse,” he said. House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) thanked the Republicans who voted for this. “That’s the only way it could have happened, on a bipartisan basis. It wouldn’t have happened on a partisan basis,” he said.
The law raises the retirement age and cuts cost-of-living adjustments for teachers and state workers. It also reduces employee contributions by 1 percentage point and sets up a schedule of state payments that is supposed to bring the pension systems to 100 percent funding in 30 years. The systems are now underfunded by $100 billion.