SPRINGFIELD --- The
Cullerton said he "can't emphasize" how important it is to address the state's $96.8 billion pension debt, the nation's worst-funded retirement system.
He also called for support to put the House headed by Speaker
How serious Cullerton's own Senate is was left an open question after the defeat of a more comprehensive proposal sponsored by Sen. Dan Biss, D-Evanston, that would have scaled back annual pension increases, required current workers to chip in more and saved a projected $150 billion over 30 years. That measure failed by seven votes.
Cullerton's bill that passed would give current public teachers outside Chicago a choice between keeping a compounded 3 percent annual increase in retirement but giving up insurance or accepting insurance and a smaller annual pension increase.
But if teachers chose to keep the 3 percent compounded option, they would not be able to count any future raises toward their retirement checks.
The Cullerton proposal, passed over staunch opposition of teacher unions, would save an estimated $18 billion to $40 billion over 30 years. It would knock off $4.8 billion in liability immediately, he said.