* From a We Are One Illinois press release…
“Published reports suggest the legislative conference committee on pension reform is ready to rehash the same unfair, unconstitutional attacks on retirement security.
“Particularly harmful is the committee’s threat to delay and sharply reduce the cost-of-living adjustment that protects retirees from inflation. Research shows that a COLA cut to half the rate of inflation slashes the benefit earned by a retiree just as deeply as the drastic Senate Bill 1 that was twice rejected in the Senate.
“Teachers, police, nurses, caregivers and hundreds of thousands more working and retired public servants earned their pension, never missed a payment, and in most cases aren’t eligible for Social Security. They deserve better from the conferees. So does the Illinois Constitution, which lawmakers are sworn to uphold and which provisions of the committee’s outline would directly violate.
“We urge conferees and all legislators to abandon unconstitutional cuts and focus on Senate Bill 2404, a compromise pension solution that maintains basic fairness, saves nearly $140 billion and has majority support in both the Senate and House.”
The research referenced in the statement is here. Over twenty years, the half-CPI proposal would reduce SERS pension benefits by 25.4 percent, according to the study.
The Teachers’ Retirement System, which covers 700,000 working and retired teachers outside Chicago, downgraded its estimated savings from the Madigan plan by about $24.5 billion. That cuts the estimated overall savings for the Madigan plan to $163.2 billion.
Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook, Madigan’s pension leader, also cautioned that the elements that have surfaced don’t represent a deal.
“No one said ‘yes,’ but no one said ‘no’ either,” Nekritz said about the overall “package or on individual components.”