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|IL Lawmakers Talk Pension Reform
|(IRN)-When state lawmakers enacted pension reform earlier this year, they left out the pensions for local police and firefighters. Now, many mayors say lawmakers have to make that up.
Roselle Mayor Gayle Smolinski says that between 1997 and 2008, the costs of these pensions have risen higher than municipalities can fund. She says police pensions went up from $86 million to $215 million, and the cost of firefighter pensions went up from $70 million to $176 million. Others, including Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey, Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin, Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole, Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner and Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso, are lobbying their local lawmakers to approve a second tier system that will raise the retirement age from 50 to 60, use a different formula for deciding the pension level, and capping salaries. They say the fact that 44 referenda on this issue in the last election were all approved with a total of 79 percent to 89 percent "yes" votes.
But the police and firefighter groups disagree. They say these public safety workers receive no Social Security, and have to include health care insurance. The Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association and Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois also say that retirement age is designed to help prevent disability and costs, saying that a 60 year old firefighter is nearly three times more likely to become permanently disabled than a 50 year old firefighter. They also report that police officers in the same age brackets are more than four times as likely to become disabled.
Lawmakers debated the bill in the House Personnel and Pensions Committee, but have not yet voted.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|11 18 10 by Newsroom
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