ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK
Illinois lawmakers agreed to almost a dozen new pension laws this year. But none of them will address the state’s biggest pension problem: The costs.
Of the ten new pension laws that lawmakers agreed to, just three deal with state pensions, and none of them change benefits.
House Bill 656 requires schools that are using federal funds to pay for teacher salaries use those federal dollars to pay the full employer contribution toward their pension. House Bill 350 states that survivor benefits can’t be paid to a widow of someone who committed a felony while on the job. And House Bill 2496 makes changes for doctors in disability cases.
The rest all deal with local pensions for city and county workers, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, or cops and firefighters, downstate police and fire pension funds.
State Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, sponsored one plan to make sure cities and counties understand that the ban on pension spiking includes a ban on adding sick days or vacation days to someone’s final payout.
“It’s my understanding that most cases where there was an attempt to (spike) were caught,” Althoff said. “Which is what drew out attention and the need to clarify the language.”
Althoff’s plan clarifies that IMRF spiking penalties will take into account “reported earnings” instead of just salary.
“We have to do everything we can to ensure that we are protecting the taxpayer, while still providing a decent benefit to existing employees,” Althoff added.
Cities and counties have to pay a penalty if they allow workers to spike their pensions above their final year’s salary.
Another IMRF pension change will make it clear that IMRF workers can’t add their vehicle allowance to their pensions.