The failure to advance reform legislation came as little surprise to most lawmakers, since the Governor had not specifically indicated what he intended to accomplish after he called lawmakers back to Springfield for a special session August 17.
The measure proposed in the House of Representatives—as an amendment to Senate Bill 3168—offered current and retired General Assembly members the choice between retaining their existing benefits but losing access to state-sponsored health insurance, or retaining access to the health insurance system but accepting more modest cost-of-living increases after retirement.
House lawmakers adjourned without passing the measure after a vote on the amendment revealed the bill did not have the 60 votes needed to advance.
MANY SAID SAVINGS WERE LIMITED
Many lawmakers who voted against the measure criticized its limited savings, estimated at $41 million to $43 million in the short-term.
New accounting standards likely to be adopted by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board are expected to peg Illinois’ pension liabilities at as much as $146 billion.
Moody’s Investor Services has also indicated it will adopt similar stringent standards.
Without reform of all state retirement systems, Illinois will pay more than $630 billion toward state retiree pension obligations between now and 2045.
NEW LAW PREVENTS PENSION ‘SPIKING’
In other action, the Governor signed legislation to prevent pension “spiking” by former legislators and other members of the General Assembly Retirement System.
Some former legislators have taken short-term jobs with local governments or others at a high salary that significantly boosts, or “spikes” their pensions.
House Bill 3969 states that if the former legislator takes a job for less than two years, the added pension cost must be paid by the new employer rather than the General Assembly Retirement System.