Bill would limit college pensions


SPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by State Rep. Daniel Biss of  Evanston to limit pension payments for state university employees was approved by the state House today.

The bill would require the universities to reimburse the pension system if a retiree, already collecting his or her pension, returns to work for the university.

Currently, employees are able to retire and receive their pension, but then return to work for the university.

Biss says that practice provides an incentive for employees to retire artificially early in order to simultaneously collect a pension and a salary. This puts a double burden on taxpayers, as both the employees’ pensions and salaries are publicly funded.

House Bill 4996 does not prohibit universities from rehiring retired employees, but rather mandates that if they choose to do so, that they must reimburse the State University Retirement System (SURS) for the annuity while the rehired individual is employed.

Additionally, the legislation lays out conditions under which retirees can return to part-time employment and still draw a pension without obligating the employer to make any payment to SURS.

“Our pension systems are in bad shape, in part because they are susceptible to abusive practices,” Biss said. “The common-sense reforms in House Bill 4996 will curb some of these abuses, saving taxpayers money while allowing our universities to maintain their excellent standards.”

The state Senate has yet to act on the bill.

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