The “consideration model” in Senate Bill 16 is plainly unconstitutional. Retirees would be forced into choosing between one diminishment of benefits and another, and that choice can only reasonably construed as a diminishment. It’s like a restaurant that only sold burgers and hot dogs calling itself a vegetarian restaurant because you had a choice between two options.
And as for the savings by creating a Tier III, it’s not at all clear to me that Tier III benefits meet the Safe Harbor test — that is, that the benefits are at least as generous as Social Security. If not, we’ll end up putting all those members in Social Security, which means the savings they plan to realize won’t come to fruition.
All in all, it seems like SB 16 is trying to cleverly avoid the plain fact stated by the Illinois Constitution and affirmed by the Illinois Supreme Court: pension benefits are a promise we have to keep. There’s only one real way to fix the unfunded liability. We need to raise revenues and pay what we owe.
State Representative 39th District