Illinois legislators have yet again done what was long unthinkable — the House today passed a measure reducing state employees’ and teachers’ retirement benefits.
The legislation seeks to reduce the highest driver of the state’s burgeoning pensions costs: the compounded, 3-percent cost of living adjustments retirees receive every year. Republican David Harris of Arlington Heights says it’s an increase Illinois cannot afford:
HARRIS “My friends I will tell you I don’t call it a cost of living adjustment. I call it an automatic increase.”
Under the proposal, retirees would have to wait until they’re 67 to receive a cost-of-living bump, and it caps the size of the COLA’s.
While supporters say it’ll make the biggest dent cutting down Illinois’ nearly 100 billion dollar pension debt … for critics, the attempt’s futile. They say it’s unconstitutional. The state’s constitution says pension benefits can’t be diminished.
This is the third, major pension overhaul approved in the House … and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan says it’s a sign legislators are close to “finalizing” a comprehensive solution.
But signs from the Senate indicate just the opposite.
Democrats in the Senate have so far taken an entirely different approach, and JUST voted down a proposal containing the provisions that passed the House.