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House candidates on pension reform

Candidates for the state house district that includes Evanston say they don’t support proposed legislation that decreases the pensions of new public employees.


Candidates for the state house district that includes Evanston say they don’t support proposed legislation that decreases the pensions of new public employees.

Governor Patrick Quinn has proposed creating a two-tiered pension system to curb the state’s mounting underfunded pension liabilities — which is currently estimated to be at $74 billion.

Quinn also signed a budget last month provides a temporary pension fix by issuing $4 billion in pension obligation bonds.

The proposed two-tier system would not affect benefits for current employees but would cap the cost-of-living increases and raise the retirement age of new ones.

Public employee unions attacked the proposal, claiming that it wouldn’t save money in the long run as the governor projected, and the three declared candidates in the house race agree with the unions.

Jeff Smith says the state should, among other solutions, consider capping retirement benefits.

The Tooling and Manufacturing Association proposed in March changing the current pension system to resemble a 401(k) system. Sen. Bill Brady (44th District) suggested the state allow employees to choose between a pension system or a 401(k) system.

But candidate Eamon Kelly says a 401(k) system isn’t right for public employees.

Candidate Patrick Kennan-Devlin says the state needs to commit to paying off its underfunded pension liability by adopting a dedicated payment schedule.

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