Illinois Senate Approves Pension Plan on Second Try
By The Associated Press, with addtional reporting from Illinois Public Radio
The Illinois Senate has approved on a second vote Senate President John Cullerton's proposal overhauling teacher pensions.
Minutes earlier senators rejected the plan; it was shy one vote to pass. Cullerton used a parliamentary procedure to recall the bill. The second vote Wednesday was 30-22.
All East Central Illinois senators voted the measure down.
Cullerton's amended plan addresses the Teachers' Retirement System and is estimated to save up to $40 billion over the next 30 years. It also offers employees a choice on whether they want retirement health care or reduced annual cost-of-living increases.
Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, said it'll save the state between 18 and 44 billion dollars over the long term. While opponents say that's not enough, Cullerton says it meets a more important test.
“it’s constitutional," he said. "It has the strongest argument for being constitutional. And if were were to pass a bill that’s unconstitutional it would be a year before we’d find that out and we would have lost a year of savings.”
Opponents say the plan doesn't go far enough in addressing Illinois' pension crisis. Illinois has nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liability.
Earlier in the day senators rejected a total overhaul sponsored by state Sen. Daniel Biss.