SPRINGFIELD—The House of Representatives passed a pension reform bill for downstate and suburban police and fire pension assets.
The legislation, Amendments 5, 6, and 7 to Senate Bill 1300, will consolidate Illinois’ 649 downstate and suburban police and fire pension funds and was the result of the bipartisan Pension Consolidation Feasibility Task Force, which found that consolidated assets would increase investment returns and decrease the cost of managing the funds.
State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) serves as the Republican Spokesperson on the Personnel and Pensions Committee in the House of Representatives, and spoke in favor of the legislation during its debate.
“The co-mingling of pension funds was a huge concern for residents,” said Batinick. “This bill prohibits that and keeps each pension fund separate and district. It also has the unanimous support of the Illinois Firefighters Association, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police and the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association and that support was huge in making this a reality.”
Currently, downstate and suburban police and fire pension funds are underfunded by nearly $11 billion. The Pension Consolidation Feasibility Task Force’s report estimated that over the next five years, consolidation could lead to an additional $820 million to $2.5 billion in investment returns alone, which could mean lower contributions funded by property taxes.
“I have long said that pensions and property taxes are two of our state’s largest hurdles to success,” continued Batinick. “This bill we passed today is huge in helping take some burden off our taxpayers, while still keeping their benefits intact. Today was a small step forward for successful pension reform in Illinois.”
Senate Bill 1300 passed with strong bipartisan support and will move forward to the Senate for confirmation.