Information on Quinn’s pension proposal

Contact Your Legislator Now!Look here to see Quinn’s proposal, the We Are One Illinois labor coalition’s response, this week’s Capitol Report, which is full of information about Quinn’s plan and a proposed amendment regarding pensions, as well as a link to contact your legislators to encourage them that any changes they make be fair and constitutional.

Important: Do not post your letter to your legislator on this site. They will not see it here. Use the link above to email your senator and representative.


  1. Ernie Johnson says:

    No one said pension reform would be painless. I’m lucky, after 27 teaching years, I’m only a year away from retirement, so I’ll only get hit with the 3% increase TRS contribution for a year, and the reduced cost of living changes. I learned as a local IEA president 20 years ago that TRS would be bankrupt someday, without significant changes. Folks, this is going to hurt some, but it is not Armageddon. These changes should have come into play 20 years ago, but were kicked down the road because of the lack of guts by politicians (whose General Assembly Pension is the most lucrative of the 5 state funded pensions) who fear the rath of unions and they wanted to maintain their lucrative GA pension benefits. I believe in the IEA and the good it does, but I’m also for sound fiscal responsibility. The Governor’s plan is not as radical as I expected. Over the years, the state did not take our TRS contributions, they were invested by the TRS – what they did not do is fully fund their share between Gov. Jim Ryan, until Gov. Quinn the past 2 years. That has taken tremendous guts by Quinn to cut spending elsewhere just to shore up the pensions. Most of my fellow GOP will never support any Democrat, because of the ideologue mentality that has taken over the party, and the Democrats lose rational thought when our pay and/or benefits must be compromised because our fellow tax payers can no longer sustain them – it’s better to get most of what we’ve been promised that break the system so it has nothing left for our future.

    The Gov. proposal does fund the TRS, but over 30 years shifts the burden for the state’s TRS funding portion to local districts, who will have to make cuts to pay their share of TRS. That concerns me and I need more details, but if you were to personally take your TRS contribution, add the 50% the state is supposed to match, and invest it until your 60 (like you do in your 403(b), and get 8% per year compounded on your money, you’d only be able to buy a lifetime annuity of about 2/3 of what you’re going to get under the current TRS benefits – that has always been unstainable. Because of this pension payout, a teacher on Tier 2, who goes out at 60 instead of 67, will have their pensions reduced by 42%, over what those of us on Tier 1 will be getting. They should be the ones angry, because much of the burden of shoring up the Tier 1 pensions falls on their shoulders.

    Do I like these changes – H— NO!, But it’s a way to save the pensions and pay what has been promised to Tier 1, and not break the state. One of the biggest reasons Catepillar did not build in Galesburg was the fear of our pensions would force another tax hike. I fully suspect in a few years the state will start income taxing our pensions – that will be a 5% reduction to all of us.

    If any one has good ideas for rational and fiscal plan of an alternate way to fund the 5 state pensions, please, PLEASE bring it to light. I don’t like it a bit, this pension fix a bit, but its’s much more logical and common sensical to get 90 to 95% of what we’ve been promised than to bankrupt the 5 state pensions or count on a broke state to find $ for our pensions by inadequately funding our future schools, roads, social services, and on, and on, and on.

  2. Cindy Tremback says:

    As one of your Constituents and a teacher for the past 29 years, I hope you will NOT support changes to our pension benefits. Governor Quinn’s current proposal is unconstitutional and UNFAIR. To raise our pension contribution to 12.4% is fiscally irresponsible. Not to mention decreasing my future pension benefits, which I have counted on in retirement. I DO NOT collect social security benefits, even though I have paid into the system with second jobs for over 25 years.

    I have met my pension obligations for the past 29 years and have NEVER missed a payment. Which unfortuantely, I cannot say for the state of Illinois. The state of Illinois has created this problem with their ‘pension holiday’ and under-funding pensions for years.

    I ask you…why should we be penalized for keeping our end of the bargain? Why are educators being portrayed as the reason for the state of Illinois’s financial crisis?? I believe our Legislators need to take a long hard look at what got us to this point in the first place. Our elected officials need to accept the blame for this financial nightmare and stop blaming teachers.

    As you can see I am deeply concerned over our pension crisis. As I approach retirement myself, what will become of my retirement? Will the funds be there? Will I be unable to retire due to changes in the system? The list goes on…

    I beg of you please, when you cast your vote regarding pension reform, remember I have ALWAYS made my pension contribution of 9.4%. The question is… what has the state of Illinois done with their pension contribution?

  3. Anyone know more about what Quinn means regarding “phasing in the increased retirement age”?? What a ridiculous plan, to think I voted for this man in hopes of being treated fairly.

  4. So much for Quinn’s proposal. We should not consider any concession to this man or what he represents. Let the pension fund become insolvent. The debt is then passed to the state treasury which is compelled by law to pay.

    “The State can’t pay if there is no money” argument is silly. There is always plenty of money for graft and corruption, just no money for teachers. There are 33 Billion dollars in the operating budget as well as another 31 Billion dollars in the capitol budget. (A budget politicians won’t touch because that is where they collect their graft.)

    Any employment contract change compelled by a threat to punish those who refuse to comply (by lowering their benefits) is patently illegal. If this proposal is passed by the Legislature, every state employee should immediately strike. Feel free to throw us all in jail. Then you will have an even larger bill.

    It goes both ways when you declare your employee obligations to be optional. Our obligations become optional as well.

  5. I have faithfully paid into Medicare every paycheck, fully knowing that I will never be a recipient to Medicare. It has been agreed and a past practice that by the state workers paying into Medicare and Social Security, the state save billions a year. To threaten to kick me out of healthcare previuosly provided by the state in return for my
    contributions to Medicare I think will warrant a lawsuit of enormous magnitude. I am prepared to take my case to a judge if this is indeed what occurs down the line. I would encourage all members to look into this as well. Just becasuse the claim that the constitution does not mention healthcare then would mean that we would be eligible for Medicare upon retirement if the state will not pick up that provision.

  6. Mary Norquist says:

    Dear Governor Quinn,
    Let’s not mince words, your proposal effectively screws over thousands of public servants who have spent their entire careers in service of public school children and others. We have paid faithfully into a system that has abused our trust and now expects us to fund its mismanagement. Nice job. Once again, politicians put their interests above the general good and attempt to force feed the public a load of garbage. Shame on you.

  7. Kathy Peterson says:

    I am writing to make a strong request that you, as my legislator, promote the pension that I have worked for 30 years to build up. If I would have known that this hard earned pension would be in question, I would have been paying into another retirement fund. As it stands, I cannot collect any social security and I have no other retirement funds to collect from when I am no longer working. I am going to retire in 3 years, after teaching approximately 850 American children (the blessings of our future). I now am gravely concerned about MY future, MY financial stability, MY ability to pay for MY future. Please support the funding of TRS pensions! I love and cherish every year I have given to children. Now I want to be able to live just comfortably with my fabulous memories. Thank you.

  8. John DeRango says:

    Dear Governor Quinn, I feel that your proposal is unconstitutional, unfair and harmful. As a person who has played by the rules my entire working career, for you to bend to the republican agenda and leave your supporters holding the bag, is inexcusable. My contributions to the TRS have been consistent. Unfortunately, the previous legislation has robbed our fund for their own gain. Why do they then receive a pension and other health care perks after they retire and not us?
    Could you try and taper it in? Like 10 year increments ?


    John DeRango
    Public School Teacher