Maybe It's Time to Let John Cullerton Lead the Way on Pension Reform

I'll admit it: Two years ago, I was an ardent supporter of Senate Bill 1, a sweeping pension reform proposal that would save the state more than $150 billion in pension costs over 30 years.

It raised retirement ages and re-worked the annual cost-of-living-adjustments retirees received. The annually compounded 3 percent raises that accelerated the state's pension debt would be gone, replaced by a formula that actually took the cost of living into account.

It shored up the retirement systems so those contributing to them could count on them to provide security in retirement.

Most of all, it stopped the rapid consumption of the state budget by pension obligations, which threatened to hit 30 percent or more if not contained. Like other supporters, I thought the threat to school funding and other essential government functions constituted an emergency. And besides, even after the reforms of SB 1, public employees were getting a better deal in retirement than most private-sector workers.

In theory, it was Illinois government's rescue. I loved the theory.

You can read the rest of this editorial at Reboot Illinois.

And Senate Democrats on Tuesday passed legislation that would freeze property taxes, rework the state's school funding formula and implement funding changes to the Chicago Teachers Retirement Fund. See the key components of Senate Bill 318 here.

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