capitol-dome0img_7636

The Illinois House Monday voted to make cities pay for last-minute pension boosts for retiring workers. It also rejected a proposal that it increase state contributions to the pension fund for Chicago teachers.

By Mary J. Cristobal

The Illinois House Monday voted to make cities pay for last-minute pension boosts for retiring workers. It also rejected a proposal that it increase state contributions to the pension fund for Chicago teachers.

Lawmakers said the late-career pension increases are an”abuse on the state pension system.”

State Rep. David Harris, R-Mount Prospect, sponsored House Bill 3076.

“What this bill does is simply this — it doesn’t stop that increase, if the municipality or the instrumentality wants to give them that increase — that’s fine. But it says anything greater than 6 percent has to be paid for right away by that municipality,” Harris said.

State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, said a previous General Assembly passed a similar plan because school district administrators received end-of-term pension fund “spiking.”

“(School boards) gave these folks these huge increases and told the state to pay for it, so we stopped that,” Franks said.

House Bill 3076 passed unanimously by a vote of 112-0. It was passed to the Senate.

Representatives also shot down a plan that would increase the state’s contributions to Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund.

State Rep. Jerry Mitchell, R-Rock Falls, said this is not the right time to increase any spending.

“We’re broke,” Mitchell said. “There may be times when the economy improves, we can look at this pension fund along with others, but right now this is definitely a ‘No’ vote, simply because we cannot afford it.”

House Bill 1544, sponsored by State Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago, would have required the state to increase its contribution — an additional $481.3 million in fiscal year 2012 — to the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund. The bill failed 38-73.

Davis said the state has chronically underfunded the pension program for Chicago teachers compared to the money it sets aside for suburban and downstate teacher pensions..

“It would bring about a small amount of equality and fairness,” Davis said. “It certainly wouldn’t equal to $2.4 billion, but it would certainly help bring that fund up to closer to what is required.”

Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund is underfunded by $191.5 million, according to CTPF’s most recent assets and liabilities report.

“The state is suppose to accept its responsibility and make a contribution,” Davis said.

But State Rep. Roger Eddy, R-Hutsonville, disagreed.

“The state of Illinois is in no position as you all know to begin to fund the system at a $430 million addition. We have a difficult budget process ahead of us, and a $430 million hit is certainly not what’s needed,” Eddy said.

Leave a comment

The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.