A poll released Thursday by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University revealed that Illinois voters support a higher retirement age for public workers, but are split over whether to change state employee retirement benefits.
The poll surveyed 600 registered voters between January 27 and February 8. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
“There’s a general feeling that state employees are going to have to
take some losses in their pension plans, but a majority of people in
Illinois is not supportive of draconian measures,” said John Jackson, a visiting professor at the Simon institute, in a statement released with the poll. “There
is majority support only for incremental changes to the pension system.”
The poll found 57 percent were opposed to the idea of freezing cost of
living adjustments (COLA) to retiree pension benefits for six years, a key factor of SB 1, a pension reform plan sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and pending in the General
However, voters were evenly split, with 45 percent favoring and 44 perent opposed, on the idea of limiting COLAs to the
first $25,000 in pension benefits. When asked if COLAs should be postponed until a retiree reaches age 67, 58 percent of those polled favored the idea. COLAs are now awarded when a person
starts receiving a pension.
Majority or respondents, 63 percent, said they oppose making the 2011 state income tax increase permanent and dedicating the money to pensions, a proposal introduced by State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) on Wednesday.