Despite some prominent business leaders being against it, the Illinois Manufacturers' Association (IMA) is urging its members to support the pension reform bill being debated tomorrow in the Illinois General Assembly.
The IMA sent the following message to its members today:
For years, the Illinois Manufacturers' Association along with many other voices have been calling for significant reform of the state's pension systems that are threatening the financial health and well being of our state. Illinois currently has the worst-funded pension system in the nation with an unfunded pension liability approaching $100 billion and an annual payment that eats up nearly twenty percent of the state's general fund budget. In addition to forcing reductions in investment in education, transportation, and other critical state programs, Illinois' severely underfunded pension systems are a major impediment to job creators.
This week, the General Assembly is finally poised to act after Governor Quinn and the four legislative leaders reached agreement on a pension reform package that will save $160 billion over the next thirty years while reducing our annual pension payment by $1.5 billion. It will result in a 100 percent, fully funded pension system by 2044.
Passage of this pension reform plan is tenuous because of vociferous opposition from public sector labor unions who are strongly opposed to changes that will limit Cost of Living Adjustments, increase the retirement age, impose a cap on pensionable wages, prohibit pensions and health care from being collectively bargained, and create an optional new 401K system for state employees to replace the defined benefit program. Labor unions are unleashing every possible resource to stop this pension reform plan.
The Illinois Manufacturers' Association strongly supports pension reform and its imperative that Illinois legislators hear from the business community TODAY OR TOMORROW about the urgent need for pension reform. Please call your respective member of the House of Representatives and Senate and ask them to VOTE YES on pension reform.