SPRINGFIELD — A House-backed plan to overhaul the state’s underfunded pension systems lacks support among Democrats who control the Illinois Senate.Emerging from an hour-long, closed-door meeting Monday, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, told reporters that he’ll take the Senate in a different direction later this week when he pushes a less-lucrative plan backed by Big Labor through his chamber.
“I’m optimistic. I think the unions have to go out now and explain this approach to their members,” Cullerton said.
The union-supported measure would give employees and retirees a variety of choices focused primarily on asking them whether they want to keep a 3 percent annual cost of living adjustment or continue their access to state health insurance plans.
The proposal also calls for employees to pay 2 percent more toward their retirement plans and includes a requirement that the state make annual pension payments based on an actuarial formula.
Cullerton has insisted that giving employees a choice is key to reform efforts winning approval in the courts. The House version, backed by Speaker Michael Madigan, doesn’t offer a choice.
“We believe it is the strongest argument for a bill to be constitutional,” Cullerton said. More…