Conference Committee Bill Outline Leaked

Credible news reports suggest that the conference committee has begun outlining a framework for a new pension bill. Under consideration are ideas to cut the current cost-of-living adjustment to half the rate of inflation ("Half-CPI") -- a major, deep cut which our coalition has studied and found to be as bad as unfair and unconstitutional as other cuts. (Read more on the Half-CPI "Diet COLA" cut here.) The committee is also considering long COLA holidays of up to five years as well as capping the amount of salary that earns a pension -- two additional devastating cuts. Some Republicans want to go further still -- increasing retirement ages, ending defined-benefit pensions, and deepening the already-steep COLA cuts.

In response to this leak of information, the We Are One Illinois coalition released the following statement:

“Published reports suggest the legislative conference committee on pension reform is ready to rehash the same unfair, unconstitutional attacks on retirement security.

"Particularly harmful is the committee’s threat to delay and sharply reduce the cost-of-living adjustment that protects retirees from inflation. Research shows that a COLA cut to half the rate of inflation slashes the benefit earned by a retiree just as deeply as the drastic Senate Bill 1 that was twice rejected in the Senate.

"Teachers, police, nurses, caregivers and hundreds of thousands more working and retired public servants earned their pension, never missed a payment, and in most cases aren’t eligible for Social Security. They deserve better from the conferees. So does the Illinois Constitution, which lawmakers are sworn to uphold and which provisions of the committee’s outline would directly violate.

"We urge conferees and all legislators to abandon unconstitutional cuts and focus on Senate Bill 2404, a compromise pension solution that maintains basic fairness, saves nearly $140 billion and has majority support in both the Senate and House."

Stay tuned for more information -- we will keep you updated if the conference committee releases a bill.

For now, be sure to sign our petition and voice your support for much fairer pension legislation, developed and endorsed by the We Are One Illinois union coalition -- Senate Bill 2404.