Sen. Connelly, Sen. Tracy Announce Statewide Pension Reform Compromise Plan
Senators Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) and Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) today announced they were filing a compromise statewide pension reform plan, which is modeled after a proposal agreed to on a bipartisan basis last summer. With Democrats refusing to meet Republican requests for property tax relief, jobs legislation and spending reductions, some have called on the legislature to try to move smaller agreements on other important state issues. Pension reform would be the ideal starting place, combining the Senate President's own language for statewide pension reform along with the exact same language Democrats supported last year that provides Chicago Public Schools with a one-year pickup of its pension normal costs.
“The so-called 'Grand Bargain' is in a holding pattern while we wait for Democrats to agree to freeze property taxes, make Illinois more competitive and cut spending to balance the budget,” said Sen. Connelly. “But that shouldn't prevent us from moving forward on areas where we agree, including pension reform. Republicans want pension reform that helps the whole state save money while the mayor of Chicago is asking for pension assistance to solve his own pension crisis. We have bills already filed and supported by Senate Democrats that we can move right now to solve both issues. We should honor the agreement reached last summer, and hopefully moving a pension deal now will spark momentum toward a larger budget deal as well."
The Connelly-Tracy pension package consists of two bills: One which includes the consideration model portions of SB16, and one which includes the Tier 3 and budgetary items of SB16 along with the text of SB 2822 from the previous General Assembly (that bill provided $215 million for Chicago Public Schools pensions in Fiscal Year 2017).
As part of the stopgap passed last June, Governor Rauner and the four legislative leaders agreed the state would pay for one year of CPS’s teacher pensions as long as lawmakers passed statewide pension reform. President Cullerton broke that agreement in November, which led to Governor Rauner vetoing the bill that would have contributed $215 million from the state to CPS to pay its pensions. Now, however, President Cullerton has filed a statewide pension bill (SB 16) which could easily be paired with the previously vetoed legislation.