Rauner says proposed pension reform will save taxpayers $1B

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is proposing yet another public employee pension reform. Previous efforts have been ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court.

But Rauner claims this one will pass muster and that it will save taxpayers a billion dollars a year.

The focus is on future pay raises state workers will get. Rauner is endorsing a plan proposed years ago by Senate President John Cullerton.

State workers, as a result of Illinois Supreme Court rulings, have gotten a solid gold guarantee of their future retirement benefits -- both health insurance and their pension checks.

But Senate President John Cullerton, the Chicago Democrat who has consistently been right on target about what would work and what would not, in terms of pension reform, proposed several years ago to exclude future pay raises from the pension formula.

So snow plow drivers and other state employees would get what they're entitled to now, but their pension would normally not grow beyond that. The governor's now agrees with that.

“In order for President Cullerton’s bill to be constitutional, salary increases have to be taken out of collective bargaining. This is a key point. Salary increases come out of collective bargaining. So the union has nothing to do with it in the future," Rauner said. "And each individual employee makes their own choice: do they want their salary increase in the future to be pensionable or not? It's their choice and not the union's choice. President Cullerton has agreed with that. That is necessary, and a requirement in order for this to be constitutional."

The trade off will be up to employees. If in effect by July, would shave $1 billion off the $7.8 billion payment taxpayers scheduled to make next fiscal year.

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