Senator Jason Barickman Says Pension Reform Must Be About Long Term Solutions

SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) says a pension reform proposal sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton does not do enough to tackle the state’s immense $100 billion dollar unfunded pension liability.

Senate Bill 2404 passed 40-16 Thursday. It would offer employees and retirees a choice of diminished benefits.

“My concern with this bill is that it doesn’t fix the problem or take control away from the people who messed it up in the first place,” said Senator Barickman. “We must remain focused on creating a stable and predictable employment environment in which people will want to work for us in the future.”

Senator Barickman says the estimated cost savings of the bill will not significantly trim the state’s unfunded pension liability. He also says it likely won’t ease the pressure on the state’s exploding yearly pension payment, which has led to cuts in social services, education, and other programs.

“This bill does nothing more than change the rules today and continue the problem for another day,” said Senator Barickman. “This will mean sometime in the future, the state will have to go back to employees and retirees to change the system again. What does that say about our state? We must do better.”

SB 2404 now goes to the House for consideration. It is unclear if Speaker Michael Madigan will support the bill.

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