November 28, 2011

No Action on Pension Bill So Far

Senate Bill 512 sponsored by Rep. Tom Cross, would set three tiers of pension benefits and costs for current employees..

By Christy Levy
UIC News

THE ILLINOIS House of Representatives adjourned earlier without taking action on legislation affecting pension benefits for State employees, but the bill may be re-examined this week.

SENATE BILL 512 advanced during the General Assembly’s spring session but never reached a vote. It was revived in the fall veto session with an accompanying amendment.

THE BILL, sponsored by Rep. Tom Cross (R-Plainfield), would set three tiers of pension benefits and costs for current employees who pay into the State Universities Retirement System.


  • Pay significantly more to maintain the current level of benefits;
  • Pay less and receive reduced benefits;
  • Set up a self-managed plan.

A $110,000 cap on salary earnings used to calculate pensions and an increase in retirement age to 67 would apply to employees hired after Jan. 1, 2011.

UNIVERSITY OF Illinois leaders and legislative liaisons joined representatives from other public universities and State employee unions in Springfield to work against the bill.

“WE CONTINUE to press for a solution to the state’s pension funding concerns that doesn’t unjustly place the entire burden on the backs of our hardworking employees,” President Michael Hogan wrote in a Nov. 1 email to the campus community.

“I ENCOURAGE you to contact your legislators using your own personal email and resources to assert the importance of a fair solution and the problematic aspects of SB 512.”

IF PASSED the bill, which would not affect those already retired, would become effective July 1, 2013.

QUESTIONS HAVE been raised about the legality of changes to retirement benefits for current state employees due to a clause in the Illinois Constitution reads: “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State ... shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

FOR MORE information on the proposed legislation, visit:

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