Senator Dave Syverson Says Long-Term Pension Reform Needed

Senator says bill advanced by Senate Thursday is short of the mark in addressing long term problems

SPRINGFIELD– State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) says a pension reform bill passed by the Senate Thursday afternoon does not adequately address the state’s crushing pension debt.

Senate Bill 2404, passed by a 40-16 vote, would reform the state’s retirement systems by giving employees and retirees choices for diminished future benefits. The choice option has long been supported by Senate President John Cullerton, who sponsored the bill.

Senator Syverson says Cullerton’s proposal is not a permanent solution to the pension problem. He says the projected savings from the proposal are estimated at $30 to $35 billion over 30 years. Syverson calls that a far cry in addressing the current estimated $100 billion shortfall.

“A solution to our pension problem must be a compromise between all sides that in the end passes protects retirees, is affordable, and ultimately passes constitutional tests,” said Syverson.

An amendment to Senate Bill 1, passed last week in the House by Speaker Michael Madigan, would address the long term financial concerns, but Syverson says the bill seems more punitive on retirees than needed, and would face years of court challenges. 

SB 2404 now heads to the House, where it is uncertain if Speaker Madigan will call the bill for a vote.

“For the last ten years I have urged the leaders to sit down and craft a plan that can do as much as possible to preserve promised benefits, but is affordable in the economic climate Illinois finds itself in,” said Syverson. “We cannot leave Springfield this year without finding a real solution.” 

Dave Syverson

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