• House and Senate offer differing pension solutions

    by  • May 1, 2013 • News

    Illinois house speaker Michael Madigan is proposing a comprehensive pension-reform package that caps the salary on which a pension can be based and limits annual cost-of-living increases.House

    The Chicago democrat filed an amendment Tuesday to legislation that got senate approval last month. Madigan plans a house committee hearing Wednesday.

    The plan tweaks ideas proposed by rep. Elaine Nekritz — Madigan’s leader on fixing a $96 billion pension deficit — and house republican leader tom cross.

    It would cap the total annual salary on which a pension could be based to $110,000. That’s less than the $113,000 social security guideline originally proposed.

    And instead of tying annual cost-of-living increases to $25,000, it would allow colas based on $1,000 per year of service.

    Meanwhile in the senate, a spokeswoman for senate president john Cullerton says he will keep working to pass a pension reform bill he believes can survive a court challenge.

    Rikeesha Phelon says Cullerton and fellow democrat house speaker Michael Madigan have “the same goal but different approaches” to solving Illinois’ nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

    Madigan filed his pension plan on Tuesday. It caps the salary on which a pension can be based at $110,000 and limits annual cost-of-living increases.

    Madigan’s legislation also removes language from a plan backed by Cullerton that got senate approval last month. Cullerton’s plan offers affected state-government employees and teachers a choice of benefits instead of unilaterally cutting them.

    Cullerton believes the state must give retirees a choice in benefits in order for the legislation to be considered constitutional.