Springfield, Ill – Because legislators failed to fully fund state workers' pension funds for decades, the system is in peril of financial collapse.
A Chicago Democrat, Gov. Paul Quinn is in the unenviable position of having to ask legislators today to take action on a drastic plan that doesn't sit well with union bosses in the Windy City, as he convenes a special session today to deal with the coming crisis.
Under the terms of the proposed legislation, the retirement system would:
- Push back the retirement age for those 45 and younger;
- Replace annual cost of living increases with partial increases to some benefits;
- Offer the option of freezing pensions and starting 401K plans;
- Prevent pension abuses of allowing non-government employees to participate.
In the past, union bosses have been allowed to retire under the system with full benefits, though they are not employed by the state; new hires have been allowed to bank sick time and vacation benefits in order to boost pension payments.
Members of the Service Employees International Union have travelled to Springfield to attend the State Fair, where they are agitating against Gov. Quinn and urging legislators to vote the reform plan down.