Cash Flow/Budget/Pension Update [5/7/12]
May 7, 2012
Dear WIU Campus Community:
As of today (May 7), Western Illinois University is currently waiting on payments of nearly $25.4 million for this current fiscal year. We are grateful that the state has provided $5.7 million in MAP funding. The University continues to monitor the Fiscal Year 2013 appropriation discussions, and we will advocate for Western throughout the budget process. While we remain hopeful that legislators will support an increase in funding for higher education, or at the least, keep next year's appropriations at the same level as FY'12, we have been asked to participate in creating scenarios that include possible budget reductions. As we potentially face yet another difficult financial year, it is imperative that we remain committed to providing the best possible educational experience for our students while conserving our financial resources.
We are also facing possible reforms in our pension system. By now most of you are aware of Gov. Pat Quinn's recent proposal dealing with pension reform. This proposal contains recommendations which would have a significant impact on employees, as well as components which would adversely affect the University's already-constrained budget.
Recently, legislation was introduced regarding health insurance for retirees. The legislation provides that the Department of Central Management Services (CMS) will determine the state's contribution to the retiree health insurance program. The legislation also eliminates the current formula that determines annuitant premiums. Currently, members earn a 5 percent premium reimbursement per year of service up to a maximum of 100 percent. Premiums are determined by a member's years of service. At this point there is no indication of how premiums would be determined, only that CMS would make that decision. It is likely that implementation of the changes would be made by CMS through the rule-making process.
While these proposals are creating concern and uncertainty for all of us, I would urge you to keep in mind that the legislators are still in the beginning stages of discussion. A decision has not yet been made, and there are likely to be changes as these
proposals continue through the legislative process.
These are trying times for all of us, and there are no easy solutions or quick fixes. I renew my pledge to you that we will do everything in our power to protect the University and our employees as discussions continue on these issues. We will work hard to represent your interests and to keep you apprised of further developments.