Update Regarding Pension Reform
December 3, 2013
Dear WIU Employees:
The Illinois State Legislature is again considering a pension reform bill. It is expected that a vote on this reform will happen as early as today. As we have in the past, WIU has joined with other Illinois state public university presidents and chancellors to indicate our position on the proposed reform. Below is the letter that we have collectively sent to the legislative leaders in Springfield showing our opposition to the proposed reform. It continues to be our position to support sensible reform, and we will work with our legislators to accomplish this goal. We must continue to review all proposals and their impact on employees, annuitants and our ability to recruit and retain faculty and staff.
As presidents and chancellors of the state's public universities, we write to express our profound disappointment in and our opposition to the proposed pension legislation scheduled to be discussed in the General Assembly Tuesday morning.
For the past three years we have strongly advocated for public pension reform. We have been active and thoughtful participants in pension reform discussions and proactively endorsed a plan to reform the State University Retirement System in fiscally sound and responsible ways. We continue to believe that sensible reform is essential.
However, certain features of the plan scheduled to be discussed on December 3rd in the General Assembly, particularly the approach to COLA and the cap on pensionable salaries, will have a severe impact on the retirement security of faculty and staff in the state's public universities. They will adversely affect our collective ability to recruit and retain the people we need to educate the next generation of workers and entrepreneurs, provide health care for the state's neediest citizens, and build new startup companies and create jobs through university research. The bill will be detrimental to higher education in Illinois and ultimately to the overall economy of the State of Illinois.