Firefighter Pension Funds – Senate Bill 1300

This week, the Illinois Legislature will pass Governor Pritzker’s proposal consolidating 650 local Police and Firefighter Pension Funds into two statewide investment funds. SEIU Local 73 joined other labor unions (Associated Firefighters of Illinois, Fraternal Order  of Police, Police Benevolent and Protective Association, and Illinois Federation of Teachers) in supporting the legislation. 

SEIU Local 73 leadership and staff communicated at length with the Governor’s Office, supporters and opponents of the legislation.  When Senate Bill 1300 (House Amendment 6) was introduced today after eight months of negotiations, SEIU Local 73 supported the bill for the following reasons:

  • The legislation retains local control of benefits administration.  Active and retired pension fund participants will retain control of ongoing administration and adjudication of benefits in their jurisdictions, just as it is conducted today.
  • The State of Illinois WILL NOT have any access to your pension dollars.
  • Individual funding levels will be separately maintained subsequent to the consolidation of the Article 4 (Fire Pension) assets.
  • The Article 4 pension investment performance significantly lagged the larger statewide investment funds and market benchmarks of similar asset allocations.
  • Our funds also pay drastically higher investment management fees than the larger funds which reduces the dollars available to fund benefits.
  • The legislation begins to address the inequities of Tier 2 Fire pension benefit structure.
  • The bill creates a statewide firefighter investment fund which will be managed by firefighters and our employers – 3 elected by active members, 3 elected by the employers, 1 elected by the firefighter retirees, 1 appointed ex-officio by the Illinois Municipal League and 1 ex-officio member from the Associated Firefighters of Illinois.  This gives the fund a firefighter majority.

As your elected leaders, we will always fight to ensure your pensions are adequately funded, pay fair investment fees, have fairly elected governance, and provide a secure income in retirement. 

For a non-partisan perspective on Governor Pritzker’s Pension Consolidation legislation, please click to read Ralph Martire, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, opinion piece.

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