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Proposed pension plans

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Madigan Plan

º Applies to four of the five public employee pension systems: teachers, public university employees, state workers and legislators. Not included are judges, who may have to rule on whether the legislation is constitutional.

º Requires employees to pay 2 percent more of their salaries toward pensions.

º Requires the pension systems be 100 percent funded by 2044. Currently the five systems contain about 39 percent of what's needed to pay benefits as promised to retirees and current employees. That's the worst unfunded liability of any state.

º Includes a guarantee the state will make its scheduled payments to the funds -- something it didn't do for many years. If the payments aren't made, the systems could sue.

º Caps the amount of salary on which a pension benefit is based at about $110,000.

º Calculates annual cost-of-living adjustments at 3 percent of a maximum annuity amount. That amount would be $1,000 for each year of service, with a cap of 30 years.

º Raises the retirement age for employees under age 45. It would increase one year for people age 40 to 44, three years for age 35 to 39 and five years for workers below 35.

 

Cullerton/Union Plan

The plan proposed by the unions in collaboration with Cullerton has not yet been detailed, at least publicly. It came out of a meeting that occurred as Madigan was moving his bill through the House, and Phelon said Cullerton felt for the first time that it represented "movement" on the part of the unions.

While the specifics won't be disclosed until the union leaders have shared them with members, Phelon said it is the same framework as a Cullerton-backed bill that the Senate approved in March. That bill -- which Madigan gutted to insert his own proposal -- offered public employees a choice on whether they want retirement health care or reduced annual cost-of-living increases. Cullerton's chief legal counsel concluded in a 77-page legal analysis that offering such a choice is the only way for a pension reform measure to be considered constitutional.

 

Plan B

Lawmakers also could resurrect another Cullerton idea that attaches his framework as a back-up plan to Madigan's bill. That way if unilateral cuts are deemed unconstitutional, the bill giving employees a choice between health insurance and cost-of-living adjustments would take effect. The "Plan B" option isn't a part of Madigan's bill, but the Senate could add it.

 

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