Downstate Mayors Lobbying For Pension Reform(Springfield, IL) -- Mayors across central and southern Illinois say the pension costs for police officers and firefighters are squeezing out the budgets. Mt. Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesley says lawmakers have sweetened up the pension deals and now some people make more in retirement than they did when they were working.
"A person can work five years less to get 75% pension after 30 years. If they retire at 50, they can draw a pension that is larger than they have worked" said Chesley.
The downstate police and fire pension systems were underfunded by about eight-and-a-half-billion-dollars at the end of 2012. Only lawmakers can change the benefits structure and the mayors say if they don't do that soon, there won't be any money to pay the workers when they retire. Lawmakers have already passed a law aimed at fixing the state's pension woes, and there's a plan sitting on Governor Quinn's desk that will help shore up a couple Chicago pension funds. The downstate mayors say they shouldn't be left out of the mix.
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