A proposal that’s now under consideration may break the logjam on public pension restructuring. The crux of the proposal changes the current 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment to half of the consumer price index – which, at today’s rate of inflation, constitutes a cut – and applies it to perhaps only part of a retiree’s pension -- $1,000 for every year they worked in government. Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) came up with the idea.
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“The emphasis of my proposal is to make sure that the system is stabilized and that the longest-term and certainly more modestly paid state workers, teachers and so on have a pension that they absolutely can rely on,” she said. She says highly-paid workers, or those who have been in government a short time, should not be entitled to the same level of protection, and expense to the state, as those who have “dedicated their life to public service”, especially considering those in government for shorter periods may have worked in the private sector and will have Social Security.
That proposal is still being examined by actuaries to see if it saves enough to dig the state out of its pension hole. Even if this is the proposal, Radogno says it will be hard to pass it, with a lot of nose counting by legislative leaders. Leaders are eying Dec. 3 as a possible date to re-convene the General Assembly, but that date has not been set yet.