As we have battled for our pension rights over the past year, we have used the basic talking points provided by the IEA:
- Any changes to TRS must be constitutional.
- Any changes must bring financial stability to the system.
- Any changes must be fair to members.
These have been good, but not enough as we head into an August House session in Springfield and a veto session of the General Assembly following the November election.
Following discussions with many TRS members around the state, let me suggest these:
- We reject any plan that treats this as a benefit problem. It is a revenue problem.
- The attack on benefits will have serious consequences for the economy of the state. A cut to TRS benefits will negatively impact the living standards of all working people in Illinois.
- We will prepare for a defense of our constitutional protections.
- Illinois must end its regressive tax-the-poor system and replace it with a progressive graduated income tax.
- State elected officials must address the repayment of the $40 billion owed to our pension system. The debt can be restructured but must be paid back.
- A cost shift of the pension responsibility to local school boards will unfairly punish active TRS members who work and taxpayers who live in cash-strapped districts.