Pension reform bill makes progress

Published 03/20 2013 11:07PM

Updated 03/21 2013 10:12AM

SPRINGFIELD -- A pension bill targeting teachers made it out of the senate, but it didn't come without a fight. Senators actually had to vote on the bill twice. It didn't get enough votes the first time around.

The proposal calls for some significant changes to the Teacher's Retirement System. Teachers would have to choose between two options: they could give up their retiree healthcare and keep their current benefits or save retiree healthcare, and take a reduced benefits package instead.

Critics argue the plan is unconstitutional and worry about the lack of savings. The sponsor, Senate President John Cullerton, believes it is constitutional, but says they really won't know until it's taken to court.

He defends the bill and says it would cut the unfunded liability by nearly $5 billion, and also save the state at least $18 billion over the next 30-years.

This bill only tackles the Teacher's Retirement System. Other systems are lumped into another bill which is still under review by the senate. Cullerton's proposal now heads to the house. 

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