U of I President Bob Easter sent a letter to all employees the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, when changes in our pension plan were under consideration. Here is a portion of his letter, which is worth repeating:
enter a season of Thanksgiving and holiday cheer, it gives me no pleasure to
update you on what are expected to be proposed changes in the state’s public
pension systems that the Illinois General Assembly may consider when it meets
Although a conference committee
and the legislative leaders have played it close to the vest in closed-door
meetings on how to address the state’s pension funding crisis, information from
reliable sources indicates the package that may emerge in Springfield on Dec. 3
would be onerous for public employees, including those of us at the University
of Illinois. The proposals, which have not been publicly issued in the form of a
bill lawmakers will be asked to consider, would affect current employees and
retirees and would be effective July 1, 2014.
the anticipated changes to be considered are these:
C.O.L.A.—The automatic, compounded annual
3 percent increase in retirement annuities would be replaced by an annual
increase equal to one-half of the increase in the consumer price index, but
shall be no less than 1 percent and shall not be greater than 4 percent (a cap
in the event of high inflation). Automatic annual increases received prior to
the expected July 1, 2014, effective date of the legislation would not be
diminished. For employees not yet retired, the C.O.L.A. would be increased
biennially for a period of time based on age.
cap would be placed on pensionable earnings based on the Social Security wage
limit, and those currently receiving earnings in excess of that amount would
have their pensionable earnings limited to essentially their current salary. In
other words, for them future salary increases would not be counted toward
pensionable earnings. For employees covered by collective bargaining agreements,
the pensionable earnings limit would be applied based on the next collective
agreement after the new pension law takes effect.
provisions expected to emerge next week include: a reduction in employee
contributions for Tier I participants by 1 percent of earnings; a reduction of
the “effective rate of interest,” used for money purchase calculations; and a
stronger legal requirements that the state adhere to a funding schedule to
eliminate the unfunded pension liability within 30 years. ...