Pension Update From IFT President Dan Montgomery
Just a few weeks ago, on the last day of the Illinois General Assembly’s spring session, we all breathed a sigh of relief when pension-cutting bills were not voted on before adjournment.
Your tremendous outreach to lawmakers – tens of thousands of phone calls, e-mails and in-person visits – was the key reason we were able to stop the pension attack last month. Still, we knew we were not out of the woods and had only postponed the assault on our retirement security.
Last week, Governor Quinn met with the four legislative leaders in an effort to reach agreement on a pension bill that both chambers will support. House Speaker Mike Madigan continues to insist that any legislation include a cost-shift to make cash-strapped suburban and downstate school districts pay the normal cost of teacher and administrator pensions. Republican leaders oppose a cost-shift and have asked for a study of all state school funding to determine how such a shift would impact local districts. The governor and leaders are expected to meet again in about five weeks, and it is possible an agreement on new pension legislation could be reached at that time.
But the IFT is not sitting back simply waiting to see what happens next. Along with our partners in the We Are One Illinois coalition and our legal counsel, we are reviewing all options as we look ahead to the next fight against unfair, unconstitutional pension legislation.
We remain ready to work with leaders to find a solution to the pension crisis, but will continue to insist that active, retired and future members of the systems do not bear the entire burden alone. There must be shared sacrifice and a guarantee that the state will not shirk its payment obligations in the future.
Although the waters in Springfield are temporarily calm, rough seas are surely ahead. As always, the IFT will advise you of any developments. Please be sure that we have your current home phone number and personal e-mail address so we can reach you throughout the summer.
Again, I thank you for all you’ve done so far to protect the pensions we have all been promised. There will surely be more work to do in the weeks and months ahead, but I know together we will get it done.
Dan Montgomery, IFT President