Monday, January 7, 2013

Weekend Cut Short!

The introduction of Amendment 9 to SB 1673 brought about much scurrying from those of us who have been involved these first few days of the Lame Duck session. By now most all of you have read in the newspapers about the content of the Amendment.

By the time you read this leadership will have met to determine what language is to actually be taken forward in a new or additional Amendment to SB 1673.

Thus far we know that Amendment 9 is identified as HB 6258 with some inclusions from Rep. Fortner's bill. The highlights for today's discussion are most likely:
  • Cost-of-living increases delayed until age 67 (or 5 years after retirement) 
  • Cost-of-living freeze for the next five to six years
  • Limit on cost-of-living increases to the first $25,000 ($20,000 if a person is a SERS retiree who receives Social Security due to contributions made to Social Security through their State employment)
  • A 2% increase in contributions phased in over two years with a guarantee that the State would make its required contribution
  • Phased-in increase in retirement age for employees younger than 45 for those hired before January 1, 2011
  • Cost shifting to local school districts removed - this would most likely be revisited at a later time
  • An employee's pension would be based on his or her salary upon passage of the bill or the wage base for Social Security, whichever is higher
  • The requirement of certain amounts to be transferred from the State's general revenue fund to the pension stabilization fund - if the State tries to skip payments, the retirement systems could go to court to enforce the law
  • A cash balance plan would be created for employees who began work after January 1, 2011 or referred to as "Legacy Tier II participant" - a new cash balance plan participant is a person hired on or after July 1, 2013
  • The deletion of tying the cost-of-living allocation to health insurance remains in place
  • According to the Tribune "the proposals could result in shaving as much as $30 billion off the state's pension debt. The state has $5.7 billion devoted to pension funding this year and $6.7 billion for the next budget year . . ."
While the next few days will be quite trying we would ask all of you to stay on alert. Calling your
representative with concerns regarding their position on the new proposed pension legislation will give the SUAA lobbyists an idea of who to contact face-to-face at the Capitol.

What we know for sure is that a new Amendment will be proposed after today's talks.
Representatives will be at the Capitol starting at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 6th. Calls can be
received at their Springfield Office.

The Senate is not scheduled to return until Tuesday, January 8th.

You are welcome to provide comments and concerns to the State office by email. John, Dick and Linda are currently monitoring the activity and will be reporting as activity progresses.

SUAA Mini Briefing
January 5, 2013

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