Governor signs pension changes for state employees

pension1Gov. Pat Quinn signed pension legislation¬†Thursday that university leaders said would “adversely impact public university employees, place higher education in Illinois at a competitive disadvantage, and ultimately weaken the state’s economy.”

But the constitutionality of the law, scheduled to take effect June 1, is in question.

“It is likely to be challenged in court as unconstitutional and the judicial process could result in continued uncertainty about the timing and full impact of the changes,”¬†said a statement issued Thursday by U of I President Bob Easter, UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares, Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise and UIS Chancellor Susan Koch.

“The changes made to reduce the cost of the pension systems to the state and fully fund them within 30 years falls, to a large extent, on employees and retirees, including those of us at the University of Illinois,” the statement said.

University leaders said they are looking into alternatives, such as offering a supplemental retirement plan to employees, and will provide more information on their findings at the Jan. 23 Board of Trustees meeting at UIC.

“We are keenly aware of the negative impact of these changes for all of us in the university community and are committed to maintaining a competitive retirement program,” administrators said.

The bill was passed Tuesday in a 30-24 vote by the Senate and a 62-53 vote in the House.

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