Senate Republicans applauded and widely supported the passage of a pension reform measure that passed out of the Senate as part of the “grand bargain” package on May 17. The legislation is expected to save taxpayers roughly $1 billion per year.
Estimates currently place the state’s unfunded pension liability at approximately $130 billion dollars, the worst in the nation. Previously, a bipartisan pension reform bill passed in 2013, but was ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2015.
The current version was developed through bipartisan talks between Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Senate President John Cullerton, and was designed to work with the very strict wording of the Illinois Constitution.
Illinois’ pension obligations currently consume a quarter of the state’s annual budget. The current year’s pension payment is estimated at $7.9 billion.