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Board and Committees
Recommendations Sent To
The First Conference Committee
On Senate Bill 1
The main mission is to solve the fiscal crisis that exists
in the State of Illinois, thus providing a more favorable climate
for operation of state government and realize real savings with more
favorable bond ratings.
It is essential that there be some new thinking “outside
the box” to arrive at equitable solutions. Pensions are not the only
problem as evidenced by unpaid and continual late payment of bills.
Through the leadership of Illinois State Government there
should be respect for state workers and honor past contributions and
dedication of retirees to ensure a future work place that will
entice younger individuals, at all levels, to pursue careers in
Retirees and workers did not create the problem and shouldn’t be
solely responsible for the solution.
For years the funds diverted from the retirement systems financed
other services such as education, social services, infrastructure
improvements and other services or projects to the benefit of all
residents of the State of Illinois.
Pensions are not the only problem. At any one time, there are $6 to
10 billion due in unpaid bills, whereas, the pensions unfunded
liability will be due over the next 40 years or so.
1) Guaranteed funding is most essential; however 100% funding is
unrealistic and needed only in the event that all workers retiree at
once, which will never happen. The pension debt should be amortized
over a period of 40 to 50 years, to reach 70 to 80 percent of the
unfunded liability with a uniform annual payment that would replace
the current “back loaded’ schedule.
2) Examine each retirement system separately because each system is
unique to the retirees covered by the system. One approach will not
fit all systems. The funding schedule should be reviewed every five
3) Court rulings by the Illinois Supreme Court on the “pension
clause” in the 1970 Illinois Constitution have concluded that
accrued and vested pension benefits are constitutionally protected.
4) The entire state of Illinois’ population benefited from “pension
holidays” and the State’s contribution shortages. Therefore, the
current pension crisis should be borne by the entire state
population—not just the state retirees and employees.
5) Projected savings from an unconstitutional law will most likely
result in increased legal costs, deeper debt, and little or no
savings or benefits.
6) Any savings from pension reform should be returned to the
respective pension system and not spent elsewhere in the budget.
Such restructuring should include level payments without a ramp and
contain guarantees and recourses already suggested in proposed
legislation. Ideas for dedicated revenue such as deposit of bond
payments after maturity should be included in the funding resolution
7) Members of the Conference Committee should not be overwhelmed
with the campaign on the part of some who are inclined to blame the
State’s economic ills solely or heavily upon the public sector
retirees. For example the average annuity for an SERS retiree is
**The above is the position statement of the Retired State Employees
Association sent to the members of the Illinois General Assembly’s
Conference Committee on Senate Bill 1.