Excerpts from sj-r.com:

On Thursday, lawmakers held a hearing to determine if they would again push back the deadline for cities to fully fund fire and police pensions. 

Under current law, cities have until 2040 to fund 90% of their pension obligations. A Democratic-led bill would push that back until 2050. The bill must be approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee before moving forward. It is part of the policy platform of the Illinois Municipal League, a group made up of cities and villages from around Illinois which advocates for legislative reform. 

Pensions have been a major sticking point for lawmakers in Springfield, with public pension systems for state officials being underfunded for several years.  

The people involved in paying pensions for police officers and firefighters have certainly started talking about the proposal. 

Chuck Sullivan, president of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, said there are ongoing problems with municipalities paying into fire and police pension systems and criticized the fact that the target date for funding was already moved back from 2033 to 2040 during a major pension reform in 2010. 

The AFL-CIO and the Fraternal Order of Police have also registered their opposition with the General Assembly. 

Despite opposition from fire and police groups, municipal leaders have come out in strong support of this proposal. 

Under the current law, Springfield projects that it will pay $29.9 million into police and fire pension funds next year. Under the proposal, the city would pay $24.6 million. However, by extending the ramp, the city will pay more money in order to reach the law’s 90% funding requirement.

For example, under current law, the city will have to spend $481 million by 2041 to fund 90% of fire pensions, whereas the proposal would have the city spend $696 million by 2051 to reach the same level. 

Rockford’s $22 million in annual pension payments are currently equivalent to the combined budgets for the mayor’s office, city council, legal department, finance department, information technology department, human resources department, and human services department.