The Chicago Employment Law Blog

Gov. Quinn: 'I Was Put on Earth' to Solve the Pension Deficit

On Friday, Gov. Pat Quinn presented his new plan to cut public pension costs, the Chicago Tribune reports. The plan calls for public workers to pay more, the retirement age to be pushed back, and cost-of-living adjustments to be minimized.

The state pension system is underfunded by more than $80 billion as a result of decades of pension increases approved by state lawmakers and past governors. Quinn believes that if his plan is enacted, it will save the state $65 billion to $85 billion by 2045.

Quinn’s plan would replace the current debt-burdened retirement system. According to Quinn, the 30-year-plan would make the pension system completely funded by 2042.

Here are some of the changes that would be implemented under the plan:

  • Public employees’ contribution would be increased by 3 percent.
  • Cost of living adjustment would be delayed until age 67 or 5 years after retirement.
  • The cost-of-living increase in retirement will be reduced to the lesser of 3 percent or half of the consumer price index.
  • The retirement age for current employees would be pushed back to 67.
  • Public sector pensions would be strictly limited to those employed in the public sector.

Some critics argue that the plan punishes working people for the indiscretions of past policymakers and governors. ”It is a clearly illegal attempt to solve the problem caused by past governors and the legislature solely on the backs of teachers, caregivers and other public workers,” AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said.

However, Gov. Pat Quinn is unwavering in his belief in the plan’s efficacy. “I didn’t create the problem,” Quinn said. “But I’m here to solve it. I know that I was put on earth to get this done.” Hopefully the governor’s confidence isn’t misplaced.

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