All eyes will be on Springfield tomorrow as lawmakers vote on the newly drafted pension reform bill. Much has been written about the bill here, here, here, and here.
The Tribune outlines parts of the proposal:
•Establishes a payment plan to fully erase pension shortfall by 2044.
•Allows a retirement system to sue to force state to make required pension payment.
•Reduces public employee pension contribution by 1 percentage point.
•Skips some cost-of-living increases for current workers. Those 50 and older will miss one bump. Workers 43 and under will miss five bumps spread out over the years.
•Raises retirement age by up to five years for workers younger than 46.
•Creates a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan that a worker can opt into instead of continuing with the state pension plan.
The drawbacks of this proposal are many, but the main drawback is the plan's unconstitutionality. It also places the burden on the public employees who have contributed to the plan, while the state has underfunded the pension for years.
If the plan does pass, expect many lawsuits challenging it. Also, expect Rahm Emanuel to follow suit in amending the rights and obligations Chicago has to its many workers.
Here are emails and phone numbers to all Illinois legislators, it's not too late to give them a call.