JBT-PensionReformYesterday, a pension reform bill passed the General Assembly that adversely affects seniors and retirees in Illinois.

After various pension reform proposals failed to make significant movement last spring, a bi-partisan pension conference committee was tasked with developing a compromise between both parties and both chambers. Yesterday’s legislation reflects all of the concessions of the democratic members of the committee and fails to address the one requirement that Senate Democrats, like Senator Bertino-Tarrant, have stressed since the beginning of pension reform negotiations—that is, fair treatment for those who were already retired.

“Through support of other legislation, as well as numerous meetings with stakeholders, I have held fast to my position to protect retirees who now have no way to change their fiscal futures,” Senator Bertino-Tarrant said. 

The provisions of the bill include items such as increased retirement age and delaying of cost-of-living-adjustments, but most worrisome for Bertino-Tarrant was a change to the COLA computation that affects active employees and those already retired.

“It forces reductions to the anticipated life savings of our current retirees, as well as excessive concessions from our current employees,” she said.  “For this reason, I simply could not support the proposal.”

Bertino Tarrant firmly believes that a balanced solution could have been achieved.  Everyone involved knows that sacrifices would have to be made all around, however the bill that passed the General Assembly did not achieve this balance. 

It is expected that the constitutionality of the pension proposal will now be evaluated by the Supreme Court. 

“It is my hope that the benefits already earned by retirees will be acknowledged by the judicial branch and that their decision will give us a detailed framework for the work we will need to do in the future,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

Despite Senator Bertino-Tarrant’s opposition, the bill passed both chambers of the General Assembly and will now be sent to the governor for his approval.

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