Editorial: Red flags in pension draft

Lawmakers: You can do much better for taxpayers

Monday, August 26, 2013

A committee of Illinois lawmakers working on pension reform has two things going for it: a wing and a prayer. Lawmakers will need both if they hope to convince taxpayers that their latest plan qualifies as major reform.

Legislators in June created a bipartisan, bicameral committee to find compromise on pension reform. They seem to have found it. It isn't pretty, it's pretty disappointing. Weeks of meetings and countless phone calls among committee members have resulted in a draft proposal that takes a dainty bite at the apple instead of wielding a bear claw:

Committee members say the system's $100 billion unfunded liability would be paid down by 2045. In the first few years, the plan would ease pressure on the state budget. It would delay for four or five years cost-of-living increases in retirement pay — a significant cost saver for taxpayers. That's good. But after the so-called freeze, compounded cost-of-living adjustments would resume.