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Ill. Pension reform irks public workers

By   /   December 12, 2013  /   Comments Off

Joash Mencias // News Editor

New pension law is detrimental, says COD faculty president

 Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s recent signing of pension reform legislation has met intense opposition from a coalition of labor groups like the Illinois Education Association.

The IEA’s affiliate at College of DuPage has also echoed a sour sentiment.

From the perspective of Glenn Hansen, president of the college’s Faculty Association, the new law is detrimental especially for those already receiving pensions.

“We look at this as being a dark day because again, we’ve decided as a state, the decisions that the legislators made, was on behalf of everyone of us, that the way to balance and fix the pensions was to now basically take this from the retirees.”

“…In our perspective in that they willfully decided that they would violate the constitution,” Hansen added.

The legislation in question, known officially as Public Act 098-0599, overhauls Illinois’ public pension system.

flag-43736_640Through the measures enacted, lawmakers hope to save about $160 billion. However these measures irk labor groups because of the overall effect of reduced income for retired employees.

One area of worry is a decrease in member contributions from Tier I employees.

“Of great concern to myself and others is that there is no significant increase in revenue. It’s only been cuts in spending on the people that could probably least afford to have the cuts,” Hansen said.

Opponents of the current form of pension reform say higher contributions to the pension system could maintain a fair pension for retirees.

Other aspects of the law that concern opponents are changes in the cost-of-living-adjustments and retirement age increase.

While unions have been at the forefront of the fight, Hansen believes the issue ultimately rests in the hands of all Illinoisans.

“They’ve gotten us into this situation. And all of us as citizens of the state have a responsibility here…We blame Springfield and the legislators, but we bear responsibility for having let them do this over and over again.”

Although the law has already passed through the legislative process, Hansen, like so many others, have not given up.

“This is far from over. It’s a pause. We now go to the courts.”

 

To read the legislation, please click here.

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  • Published: 4 months ago on December 12, 2013
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  • Last Modified: December 12, 2013 @ 9:01 pm
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