We commend the Governor and General Assembly for passing Common Sense Pension reform

This past year, Illinois took historic action by passing a law that consolidates the state’s downstate public safety pension investment funds. This is an important first step in solving the ongoing pension funding crisis in Illinois. This solution provides much-needed financial relief to local governments and their taxpayers all while ensuring we are able to keep our promises to public servants. We sincerely thank the governor for his leadership and support on this very important issue as well as lawmakers who voted in favor.

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The Problem

Communities across Illinois are facing an urgent pension funding crisis within their police and firefighter pension funds. With many communities’ pension systems massively underfunded, retirees face uncertainty and taxpayers continue to see tax increases and the potential for public safety service reductions. Illinois has had more than 650 individual downstate and suburban police and firefighter pension funds, resulting in redundant administrative costs. Making matters worse, smaller individual funds historically produce lower returns for pensioners.

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The Solution

The solution put forward by the Governor’s Pension Consolidation Feasibility Task Force calls on lawmakers to pass legislation that would consolidate the investments of Illinois’ downstate and suburban police and firefighter pension funds into two separate funds, one for police officers and one for firefighters. This would provide many benefits to our police officers and firefighters, as well as taxpayers and municipalities across the state, including higher funding ratios, more diverse investment portfolios and long-term taxpayer savings. Further, the proposal outlined by the task force would allow local pension boards to maintain all other authority such as pension awards and disability determinations.