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What’s on the table

Saturday, Jan 5, 2013

* The leaders are meeting today to talk about pensions. So, while you need to keep in mind that this could all change once the leaders get together, here’s the outline of what’s being proposed

* Only the first $25,000 of pension benefits for teachers, university employees, state workers and lawmakers would be subject to a compounding, 3 percent annual cost-of-living allowance. For members of the State Employees Retirement System who also receive Social Security benefits, the amount subject to a COLA would be capped at $20,000.

* All COLAs might be paused for the next five to six years (that detail has not been finalized). COLAs also would not be paid until a retiree reaches age 67.

* Employee contributions to the pension systems would increase by 1 percentage point on July 1 and another 1 percentage point on July 1, 2014.

* An employee’s pension would be based on his or her salary upon passage of the bill or the wage base for Social Security, whichever is higher.

* The bill would require certain amounts to be transferred from the state’s general revenue fund to the pension stabilization fund, presumably to address the current $96 billion owed to the pension systems. If the state attempts to skip payments, the retirement systems could go to court to enforce the law. This provision is sought by public employee unions to prevent future pension crises.

* A cash balance plan would be created for employees who began work after Jan. 1, 2011.

…Adding… Tribune

A Cullerton spokeswoman said the House should vote on the Senate-passed bill because it’s the best way to ensure something gets on Quinn’s desk by the Wednesday deadline.

“If there is a more comprehensive plan to address the other systems within that same framework, the Senate president would be open to that,” spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


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