- Published: Thursday, May 09, 2013 04:00 PM
SPRINGFIELD – A union-backed proposal to curb the state’s rising pension costs passed out of the Illinois Senate earlier today with bipartisan support. The measure, Senate Bill 2404, saves the state up to $46 billion over the next 30 years and guarantees 90% funding of the pension systems by 2045.
State Senator Gary Forby (D–Benton) was one 40 senators who supported the measure.
“I made a promise to the thousands of union members in my district that I would not support a pension bill that did not involve negotiations with the unions,” Forby said. “Having union leaders at the table was key in passing this bill.”
The proposal offers employees and retirees choices, such as keeping the current annual 3 percent compounded cost-of-living increase on their pension benefits in exchange for giving up access to retiree health insurance.
The union-backed measure in the Senate rivals a proposal passed last week in the House. Questions have been raised about the constitutionality of the House proposal as the state’s labor unions have vowed to challenge the measure in court if the bill becomes law.
“The unions are obviously upset at the House’s proposal,” Forby said. “You can’t exclude them from the conversation and then shove changes down their throats.”
Senate Bill 2404 now moves to the House for consideration.