SPRINGFIELD – State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) voted to support the state constitution and protect the retirement benefits of teachers, university personnel and state employees by opposing Senate Bill 1.
The plan to reduce benefits passed both the House and Senate on Tuesday and will become law if the governor signs the bill, which he is expected to do so.
"This proposal has a drastic and negative impact on both current and retired employees, and—I believe—it has serious constitutional issues," Sullivan said. "I understand the enormous need for pension reform, but this isn't it."
The plan slashes cost-of-living adjustments for the retirees, freezes cost-of-living increases for current employees and raises the retirement age of existing employees.
Sullivan said there is a better, fairer way to reduce pension costs. He supported a reform measure this summer, Senate Bill 2404, that saved $50 billion, was a negotiated bill and he believes is constitutional.
"Retirees have planned and saved based on promises from the state. It has to be our job to find equitable solutions without breaking those promises," Sullivan said. "I wouldn't be surprised if we are back here in a year or two voting on a new plan after the courts find this one unconstitutional."