Possible Senate Action
The Senate Executive Committee meets at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13. It may vote on three measures:
- SB 35 is opposed by the coalition. It would delay COLAs and cap them at very low levels, increase retirement ages, and increase employee contributions without an ironclad funding guarantee from the state. Further, SB 35 would force new hires in TRS and SURS into a 401(k)-hybrid retirement account. That means half of these individuals’ retirement security would be directly exposed to the risks of the market, even though participants in TRS and SURS are not eligible for Social Security.
- SB 1 is opposed by the coalition. It consists of two parts. Part A contains all of the provisions mentioned above as SB 35. If Part A is found unconstitutional, Part B goes into effect. Under Part B, workers and retirees would be forced to choose between (1) a COLA that would reduce a pension’s value by one-third after twenty years or (2) no access to health care in retirement.
- SB 2404 is supported by the coalition. It contains an ironclad funding guarantee, dedicated revenue to pay down the state’s pension debt, and shared sacrifice. Retirees would not be impacted. You can read more about it by clicking this link.
SB 35 and SB 1 are unfair to public servants who faithfully paid into the pension systems, even as the state skimped on or skipped payments. Further, the coalition believes SB 35 and SB 1 are unconstitutional and will be overturned by the courts — kicking the can down the road and worsening Illinois’ fiscal problems. Alternatively, SB 2404 is a fair, constitutional way to address the state’s chronic pension underfunding. Urge your state senators to oppose SB 35 and SB 1 and support SB 2404 instead.
Possible House Action
In the House, it is unclear what bills will be considered and what pension “test votes” will be taken this Thursday. It is possible that at least two major bills could see action in House Personnel and Pensions Committee, scheduled for Thursday at 3 p.m. The coalition opposes HB 3411, which is identical to SB 35 (described above). The coalition supports HB 3162, which is identical to SB 2404 (described above). In addition, “test votes” could be held on increasing retirement ages and increase employee contributions by 3% without an ironclad guarantee. Urge your House legislators to oppose HB 3411 and support HB 3162.
The Illinois House of Representatives voted on three new pension reform amendments this afternoon. As you will see below, two of the amendments failed by an overwhelmingly majority, but HB 1154, Amendment 7 was passed. This sets a cap on the amount of your salary that can be applied to your pension, with the cap at a salary of $113,000 a year.
HB 1154, Amendment 6: Eliminates a cost of living increase to your pension for the next 10 years. -FAILED 67-2
HB 1154, Amendment 7: Places a cap on the amount of your salary ($113,000 a year) that can be applied to your pension. – PASSED 65-7 (with 1 voting present)
HB 1154, Amendment 8: Increases your pension contribution by an additional 4% of your salary. – FAILED 58-11 (with 2 voting present)
Thank you once again for your calls to your legislators! This is another battle won in the war to keep your pension!
March 6 Update:
Just like last week, Thursday, March 7 is pension day in the Illinois House of Representatives.
A new set of amendments which would be extremely damaging to YOUR PENSION were filed earlier this afternoon and are likely to be voted on by the House tomorrow.
Be sure to call your Representative TODAY at 888.412.6570 and tell them to vote no on these amendments.
HB 1154, Amendment 6: Eliminates a cost of living increase to your pension for the next 10 years.
HB 1154, Amendment 7: Places a cap on the amount of your salary that can be applied to your pension.
HB 1154, Amendment 8: Increases your pension contribution by an additional 4% of your salary.
Your calls and emails to your legislators have been the key to defeating unfair and unjust pension reform so far. Keep up the calls and have your voice heard! This is YOUR RETIREMENT SECURITY AT STAKE!
Public employees are willing to do their part to help preserve their pension benefits, but they aren’t willing to bear the entire burden. The We Are One Illinois coalition of public-employee unions (which SEIU Local 73 is a strong partner in) which includes SEIU Local 73, stands ready to work collaboratively to develop real pension system reforms that are fair and constitutional.
Call 888.412.6570 to be connected to your state representative. Tell them the following:
- Vote no to pension reform that would drastically increase your pension contribution;
- Vote no to any pension reform bill that would unconstitutionally increase retirement age for current employees;
- Work with the We Are One Illinois coalition to create fair pension reform for both current employees and retirees.
February 28 Update:
The Illinois House voted on four pension amendments today:
HB 1154 Amendment 1 (eliminate cost of living adjustments): FAILED 66-2
HB 1154 Amendment 2 (eliminate cost of living adjustments unless the system is 80% funded): FAILED 62-5
HB 1165 (increase retirement age to 67): FAILED 66-1
HB 1166 (increase employee contributions by 5 percentage points): FAILED 61-3
Your calls and emails worked again! Extreme pension reform amendments have failed in the Illinois House of Representatives this afternoon. Thanks for your support!