pension reform proposal endorsed by various Illinois university
presidents would erode retirement security for public employees and make
it harder for schools to recruit and retain talented teachers, two
authors of a new study say.
The pension plan, known as the
“Universities” proposal, is currently under consideration by the
Illinois General Assembly’s conference committee tasked with crafting
compromise legislation to address the state’s nearly $100 billion in
unfunded pension liabilities.
Howard Wial, an associate research
professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Stephen
Herzenberg, executive director of the Pennsylvania-based Keystone
Research Center, analyzed the pension proposal as part of their study
The pension proposal, put forth by a group of scholars from the University of Illinois and Northern Illinois University, focuses on the
State Universities Retirement System. Members of the pension conference
committee have said they are looking at ways to adapt the plan for
other retirement systems.
“Policymakers need to recognize that this plan represents a very deep cut to public pension benefits despite the consensus that state underfunding, not public-sector employees, is responsible for Illinois’ pension challenges,” Herzenberg said in a statement.