The State Universities Retirement System of Illinois (SURS) conveyed information to its members recently that produced shock waves of anxiety. In sum, this information revealed one of the devastating results of the pension reform bill.
Those planning for retirement within the next few years could see a substantial reduction in their retirement annuity starting with retirements after July 1. Changes could decrease the money purchase benefit by 20 percent to 30 percent.
For those of us from this area, the surprise was particularly acute because of state Rep. Tom Demmer’s relatively recent rationale for supporting the pension reform bill (visit tomdemmer.org, March 3). This rationale included reassurances and the clearing up of misconceptions.
Is this change a reasonable step? Yes, one may certainly have to work a “bit” longer to make up a 20 percent to 30 percent reduction. The fact is that the vast majority of those blindsided by the above-noted change are over 45, in fact, 55, and with many years of service. This directly contradicts the representative’s clear and open explanation.
There are three possibilities regarding the representative’s statement: The statement is disingenuous; the bill was not understood by the very person who professes to have a clear understanding of it; or SURS has got it all wrong.
Perhaps Rep. Demmer will school us on this issue with direct references to his earlier statement.