What you need to know about the new pension reforms in Illinois
More than three-quarters of the people eligible to retire with a new state pension plan have already made plans.
The Government Employees of Illinois, the union representing public servants, has been urging people to change their mind about the changes.
The pension reform law passed by the state legislature in May requires that public employees with 30 or more years of service and at least four years of continuous employment must make a plan, but there are some exemptions.
The new law allows them to change it later if they are dissatisfied.
The pension changes come after years of lobbying by unions and advocacy groups.
The changes are likely to benefit union members who are already eligible to contribute to their pensions.
But it will also benefit retired state workers who retired earlier than anticipated, such as teachers, fire fighters and policemen, who have a longer retirement horizon.
“This is a significant step in helping people to get on track,” said Michael Schoenfeld, a senior research fellow at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
“These are all good things for public servants and good for the taxpayers of Illinois.”
Illinois was among the first states to implement the pension changes.
More than a quarter of its public employees will have a new pension in 2020, and many more retiree workers will start receiving their pension payments in 2022.
The bill passed in May was meant to address a growing financial crisis that has led to higher payroll taxes.
The state’s budget deficit was estimated to hit $500 million this year, the third-highest in the nation.