Crystal Lake…State Representative Allen Skillicorn (R- Crystal Lake) voted in favor of Senate Bill 1300 on Wednesday in order to start the process of consolidating the combined investing power of the assets of Illinois’ 649 downstate and suburban police and firefighter pension funds.
“I support consolidation, because the current trajectory of these pension systems is unsustainable,” said Rep. Skillicorn. “According to most recently available estimates, Illinois’ 649 downstate and suburban police and fire pension funds are underfunded by a whopping $11 billion,” Skillicorn said.
Illinois has the second-highest number of pension plans of any other state in the country, and Skillicorn says since the various funds are managed separately, they achieve much lower investment returns than larger pension plans like the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).
“The task force’s report estimates that over the next five years, consolidation of these assets could lead to an additional $820 million to $2.5 billion in investment returns alone, which could mean lower contributions funded by property taxes,” Skillicorn said.
“I’m disappointed this bill had pension sweeteners, but the savings realized by lowering fees and creating higher returns is better for taxpayers today and in the long run. We still need a Constitutional amendment to change existing pensions, a modest cap on benefits, a reduction in cost of living adjustments for tier 1 employees, and a third tier defined contribution plan,” said Skillicorn.
Skillicorn is reminding first responders in his district that the Illinois Firefighters Association and the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police supported the final piece of legislation that passed the House.
Skillicorn added, “I look forward to further pension reform starting in January with a set of new pension relief bills I will be filing to get this great state back on track!”