Senator Dale Righter introduces pension reform bill

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND)- Illinois has one of the worst funded pension systems in the country, with close to $130 billion dollars in unfunded pension liability. 

New legislation being proposed in the Senate aims at tackling the pension system. Senator Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, filed Senate Bill 1012, which would change the state employee pension system to a 401 (k) style plan. This would only apply to new employees hired after July 1,2018. State workers, teachers, university employees, judges, and members of the General Assembly would be included in this plan.

Senator Righter says hopes the measure will receive a hearing soon, as the state needs to get the pension system under control. 

"We are going to push the Democratic leaders here in the General Assembly to give us a hearing and move this bill forward. Again, we talk about the here and now, and the crisis that we are in now, but while are doing that, we can't lose the forest for the trees. We have got to look long term and this would be an enormous savings to the state going forward and still provide a responsible retirement plan for state employees." he said. 

Senator Righter says that currently pension costs for higher education and K-12 education consume about 50 percent of all state spending. Saying that is billions of dollars that can't be spent on bettering classrooms, hiring teachers and staff and funding important programs. 

Currently 18 other states have 401 (k) style plans for state workers. 

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