Key Senate panel approves Biss’ pension reform plan

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement after the Senate Executive Committee recommended his comprehensive pension reform plan (Senate Bill 35) to the full chamber for a vote:

As our rising pension payments threaten education and the social safety net, we need a solution that stabilizes the state’s finances while guaranteeing retirement security for the people who teach our students and keep state government running. I think the plan I’ve proposed strikes this balance.

My aim is to end the long, bitter impasse over pension reform by combining the best of existing proposals, adding a few innovative features and guaranteeing the state will never again shirk its obligations. SB 35 is designed to protect people with smaller pensions and those closest to retirement while putting in place structural changes to stabilize the pension systems and restore them to fiscal health.

I’m looking forward to an energetic debate of the legislation’s merits, and I’m optimistic that a renewed sense of purpose will drive our deliberations now that we’ve begun grappling with the unforgiving numbers in this year’s budget.

Projected savings from SB 35:

  • Unfunded liability immediately reduced by 29 percent, from $95 billion to $67 billion
  • Total state pension contributions from 2013 through 2045 reduced by 41%, from $397 billion to $238 billion
  • Next year’s required state contribution reduced by 27 percent, from $6.7 billion to $4.9 billion (this year’s payment is $5.7 billion)

Click here for a summary of SB 35’s main features and an explanation of its projected effects on Illinois’ finances.

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