Pension bill will raise retirement age for state workers

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State employees will face a later retirement age and big changes to their cost-of-living adjustments now that Illinois legislators passed the latest version of pension reform.

Tuesday, Illinois lawmakers met in Springfield to vote on a pension reform bill. The bill passed both the House and Senate.

Many State workers shared their voice Tuesday in opposition of the bill.

“We think it’s illegal and it’s a kick in the teeth for public employees and school teachers,” said Jeff Conrad with the Illinois Education Association.

Conrad represents teachers in the Quad City area and has followed the pension reform since its early stages.  He told News 8 how lives will be drastically changed.

“Teachers are going to have to teach longer and their benefits are going to decrease. The bill would also decrease the cost-of-living increases for people that are already retired,” said Conrad.

Illinois currently owes more than $100 billion in debt to the state’s pension system. The bill will erase the pension shortfall by 2044. It will also reduce the pension system’s current debt to $79 billion, a 21 percent decrease.

Chicago owes more than $33 billion in unfunded pensions, yet all Chicago employees are excluded from the change.

Currently in Illinois, state employees who have worked in their profession for 35 years can retire. The new bill requires state employees to work until they are 67.

In addition, those 50 and older will miss one bump of their cost-of-living increase. Workers 43 and under will miss five bumps spread out over the years.

These decreases will directly impact money that state employees rely on.

“Your cost-of-living increases will be decreased by one-third over 20 years in retirement, should you live that long,” said Conrad.

Conrad believes one of the scariest consequences of this bill could be young educators reconsidering their career path.

“I don’t think people are going to make education a career, it scares me,” said Conrad.


  • mike

    Most private sector employees, including me lost their pensions entirely years ago and must fund themselves. Guess what! I’m still working! I don’t think someone decides to be a teacher based on their states pension plan.

    • Public Servant

      Hey Mike, do you want to know the real reason why someone becomes a teacher? It’s because they want to teach people like yourself that “state’s” is possessive and not plural. Do you know who taught me that? A teacher. Hey, guess what? There’s a question mark at the end of a question! Bush League Mike, Bush League.

  • Jason Nsfw Kubis

    I don’t understand how such a huge deficit can exist..employees fund their % and the state matches to a certain amount..that is there side contracted agreement, they were already given the employees money to invest. When a pension is signed into effect how is there not something in the legislature put into effect that funded it? Did they misappropriate it? Maybe they’re applying the ‘zero budget’ to it like they are the state budget (lol), which is also in the red and against the state constitution. Compare IL to Iowa, why is their biggest problem some shitty roads need redone compared to whats happening here? With the State and Federal Gov the way it is one can see why us young people have no interest in politics.

  • Rodney

    In the private sector they still have Social Security (no it is not the best). Also most private sector employers offer a matched 401k. The pension system is the only retirement for teachers, university employees, etc. for those working in the state of Illinois. Yes the state employees can contribute money into a 403b or an IRA on their own, but the state does not match any of that money.

  • Bob

    Don’t worry everyone will be ticked when social security goes belly up. This whole country is a joke and the politicians are the only ones laughing at it.

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