Pension Alert! Call Your State Reps, Ask Them to Support SB 2404

There will likely be a vote in Springfield on a pension bill on Thursday, March 14. This information was reported to the Senate Executive Committee by John Kindt, Chair of the Senate’s Faculty and Staff Academic Benefits Committee. Kindt said that there are 3 bills on the agenda, and that several of them would have very negative consequences for us.

But: There is a labor union coalition bill, Senate Bill 2404. Its 3 main provisions are noted below. Senator Frerichs is already a cosponsor. Please ask Representative Jakobsson to support and lobby for this bill, and please thank Senator Frerichs for his support. Now is the time to call your state legislators. Please do not to use University resources or work time to make your phone calls.

Representative Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana) 103rd District at 373-5000 in Champaign or 558-1009 at her Springfield office.
Senator Mike Frerichs (D-52nd Legislative District) at 355-5252 in Champaign or 782-2507 at his Springfield office.

Provisions of the Labor Coalition Bill:

1. Guaranteed Funding. You’ve always paid toward your retirement. The state has not. Decades of skipped and shorted payments have created a $90 billion debt and a serious crisis. This bill secures an ironclad promise that lawmakers must make the annual pension and debt payment every year. And, SB2404 establishes the right for the state retirement systems – or individuals – to bring court action if they don’t.

2. Creating a Pension Stabilization Fund. Beyond paying the annual costs, the state must also pay down the massive debt. In past years, Springfield leaders used creative borrowing schemes to make payments, which only created more debt through bonds that had to be paid off first by law. SB2404 would create a constitutionally protected fund to directly pay down the debt with resources already in the Illinois budget.

3. Shared Sacrifice. While public workers are not to blame for Illinois’ pension problem, we are willing to be part of the solution. With an ironclad funding guarantee to ensure employer underfunding can never happen again and the dedicated revenue source described above, active members would contribute an additional 2 percent of salary, phased in over the next two years. This will generate more than $3 billion over the next decade.

Call your representative today, and ask her/him to support SB2404.