Lawmakers, unions and policy groups have proposed various solutions to Illinois’ pension problem. The pension systems are nearly 100 billion dollars underfunded. A key obstacle to any cost savings plan is Illinois’ Constitution, which protects retirement benefits workers have already earned. Senate President John Cullerton has remained steadfast that it may be constitutional to reduce employees’ pensions if workers opt to change them. He’s called for giving workers the choice of keeping their current pensions, but losing access to state-subsidized healthcare upon retirement.
Or he says they could choose to keep the health coverage, while agreeing to a smaller pension.
Cullerton’s latest plan includes that option only if the courts would rule against a pension overhaul that reduces workers’ benefits, requires they work longer, and has employees paying more toward retirement.
You’ll hear him refer to this idea as Senate Bill One… as it was the first measure filed in the new legislative session.
WUIS’ Amanda Vinicky asked Cullerton if his two-pronged approach sends a confusing and mixed message to the courts.