State Representative Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) today released the following statement on the passage of Senate Bill 1300, legislation to consolidate the 649 existing local police and fire pension funds:
“I voted in favor of consolidation for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, I believe it is the most responsible step we can take to protect the hard-earned retirement security of our dedicated police and fire personnel. I also believe that consolidation will reduce investment costs and increase returns, both for current police and fire retirees and those still working. I cannot emphasize enough that their pension funds will be protected and cannot be swept by the State for any purpose. It should also be reassuring to police and firefighters who may be skeptical that their statewide advocacy organizations, the Illinois Firefighters Association and the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police are in support of this plan.”
The Illinois Municipal League also supports the pension consolidation plan contained in Senate Bill 1300. The legislation was approved by the House of Representatives by a vote of 96-14-3.
According to most recently available estimates, Illinois’ 649 downstate and suburban police and fire pension funds are underfunded by a whopping $11 billion.
The idea for consolidation came from the Governor’s bipartisan Pension Consolidation Feasibility Task Force that met eight times throughout the last year and issued a report in October recommending that downstate police and fire pension system assets be consolidated to achieve higher investment returns and lower the cost of managing the funds.