It was a great turn out tonight, the auditorium was packed and standing room only.
A few points, Sen. Cunningham explained that the tide is turning with more
of the public understanding that we paid into our pensions, the city did not.
He also mentioned a conversation that he had last year with a very well known reporter who assumed police and fire department members receive all their benefits for free.
Sen. Cunningham corrected him on that point.
Sen. Cunningham said that a certain percentage of taxes obtained from the future casinos for Chicago and surrounding areas in Illinois could be funneled into our retirement accounts.
He is also looking to add yet another 9/11 phone surcharge and other fees besides raising property taxes to help with this.
As of right now, there is no legislation pending that would affect our pensions. In 2016, the city will be held accountable regarding pension funding.
He mentioned that everyone is concerned with the precedents that may be set with other pension reform bills passed in the state of Illinois.
However, those pension funds cannot be compared to ours. Our COLA is not compounded, whereas other funds have compounded COLA’s.
Also, State of Illinois employees receive free health care, we do not.
There was only one bill in Springfield that was passed that affected the Teachers Retirement System.
They now will have to choose between the current annual 3 percent compounded cost-of-living adjustment for pensions when they retire, or a reduced COLA and continued access to state-sponsored health care in retirement.
Bottom line: No matter what ever pension reform bills are presented to
try to diminish our pensions in any way, ultimately everything will be decided by the Supreme Court.