Illinois House Approves Pension Reform Measure
By The Associated Press, with addtional reporting from Illinois Public Media
The Illinois House has approved a stripped-down pension plan that could delay and reduce cost-of-living increases for retirees and future retirees. The measure passed 66-50.
Thursday's proposal says that no cost-of-living increases can be taken until retirees reach 67 or five years after retirement and applies COLAs only to the first $25,000 of an annual pension.
The legislation seeks to reduce the highest driver of the state's burgeoning pensions costs: the compounded, 3-percent cost of living adjustments retirees receive every year.
"My friends I will tell you I don't call it a cost of living adjustment," said Republican Representative David Harris of Arlington Heights. "I call it an automatic increase."
The vote among East Central Illinois representatives was the same as it was Wednesday - when the Senate approved a measure impacting surburban and downstate teachers.
Both days, all legislators from the region voted down the pension measures.
"I’m encouraged by the positive steps recently taken by the Illinois General Assembly toward comprehensive pension reform," said Governor Pat Quinn, in a statement issued Thursday afternoon. "In the past few weeks, the Illinois House has passed three pension reform bills, culminating with today’s major cost-saving measure, which reforms the Cost of Living Adjustment factor. In addition, yesterday's votes in the Illinois Senate indicate that there is support for pension reform."