The Illinois House voted Thursday to limit compounding annual cost-of-living increases for state retirees in a constitutionally questionable move targeting the largest driver of the state’s $97 billion pension crisis.
The Senate-bound measure, sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), passed the House on a 66-50 roll call and would affect current and retired state workers, university employees, legislators and downstate and suburban teachers. Judges weren’t included.
Under the measure, current and future public employees would have to wait until age 67 or five years after retirement to begin collecting retirement benefits. State employees'’ annual cost-of-living adjustments would be capped at the lesser of 3 percent or $750 per year. […]
The vote represents the third incremental pension-reform measure to pass the House, following votes last week to cap the size of pensions and raise retirement ages.
…Adding… My reading of the bill indicates that the shorthand used in the above story is wrong. COLAs can’t be collected until age 67, not pensions.
* Daily Herald…
In a rare speech from the floor, Speaker Michael Madigan indicated today’s move, in addition to other measures the House approved last week, means lawmakers should be close to “finalizing” more comprehensive legislation.
But while most observers agree cutting annual pension increases would save the state the most money, the move is also among the most controversial. The Illinois Constitution states pension benefits are not to be “diminished.”
State Rep. Mike Fortner, a West Chicago Republican, was among those who raised legal questions in opposing the plan. […]
A proposal from state Rep. Tom Morrison, a Palatine Republican, that would move most public employees into 401k-style retirement plans is set for debate in a House committee later today. But it isn’t expected to be approved.
The roll call is here.
Republicans voting “No” were Reps. Bost, Brady, Brauer, Brown, Cavaletto, Davidsmeyer, Fortner, Hammond, Harms, Hays, McAuliffe, Meier, Bill Mitchell, Moffitt, Poe, Reboletti, Reis, Rosenthal, Sommer, Tryon and Unes.
Democrats voting “No” were Reps. Beiser, Cassidy, Costello, DeLuca, Drury, Dunkin, Evans, Fine, Ford, Hoffman, Jackson, Jakobsson, Lang, Lilly, Mautino, Mayfield, Phelps, Riley, Rita, Scherer, Sims, Smiddy, Smith, Thapedi, Turner, Verschoore, Welch and Williams.