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Pension Legislation Status Updates

3/15/2013
Retirement Age Increase (HB1166) – PASSED
IFT Position: OPPOSED
By a vote of 76-41, lawmakers passed legislation to increase retirement ages for employees hired before Jan. 1, 2011. The retirement age would increase by one year for those age 40-45, three years for those age 35-39, and five years for employees under age 35.
 
The bill moves to the Illinois Senate. You can view the legislation here and see how your State Representative voted here.
 
Pensionable Earnings Cap (HB1154) – PASSED
IFT Position: OPPOSED
By a vote of 101-15, lawmakers passed legislation to set a cap on pensionable salary at the Social Security maximum, currently set at $113,700. This salary cap legislation is a significant change in Illinois pensions and, like virtually every proposal offered, is constitutionally questionable.  Under the proposal, active workers will only receive pension annuities based on the maximum Social Security salary level, adjusted annually by the federal government. Additionally, workers would not be required to make employee contributions on any portion of salary above the federal rates.  For workers who earn more than $113,700, their pensionable salary is capped at their current rate. This means that someone earning $120,000 will neither pay into or receive a pension above the current salary – even if their salary increases in the future. The legislation does not apply to retirees and does allow top pensionable salary to be calculated under existing collective bargaining agreements or contracts. The bill moves to the Illinois Senate.

You can view the legislation here and see how your State Representative voted here.
 
4 Percent Employee Contribution Increase (HB1166 Amendment 7) – FAILED
IFT Position: OPPOSED
The Illinois House also rejected a measure that would require current workers to pay an additional four percentage points of their salary to help fund their pension. While the IFT and the We Are One Illinois coalition has proposed a 2% contribution increase, our support for such an increase is predicated on a guarantee that Springfield politicians make the required pension payments and adopt a solid plan to pay the pension debt. This proposal did neither.

You can view the legislation here and see how your State Representative voted here. 

House Committee PASSES Cross/Nekritz Bill
The House Pensions and Personnel Committee passed HB 3411, sponsored by Representatives Tom Cross (R) and Elaine Nekritz (D) by a vote of 9-1. You can view the legislation here. The Chicago Sun-Times recently published a column by IFT president Dan Montgomery which discussed our opposition to this unconstitutional bill, which:
  • Limits cost of living adjustments (COLA) to the first $25,000 of the employees’ pension These new COLAs will take effect when the employee turns 67 or five years after they retire, whichever comes first.
  • Increases retirement age from one to five years, depending on current age
  • Increases employee contributions by 2 percent over two years
  • Caps pensionable salary
  • Creates Tier 3 defined benefit/defined contribution plan for SURS and TRS members who start work after January 1, 2014. Local employers and employees would be responsible for funding these plans.
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