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Could Municipalities Get Their Own Pension Overhaul?


Illinois' pension law might serve as a model for an overhaul of local government retirement systems. The Illinois Municipal League says if the law survives a court challenge, they hope lawmakers approve a similar plan that would address rising pension costs for cities. Joe McCoy is the league's legislative director. He says the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund is on firm ground. But he says there are hundreds of separate police and fire pension funds that local governments are struggling to manage.

“If you look across the state, you’ll see there are many municipalities that are facing pension troubles,” McCoy said.

McCoy says while they like elements of the new pension law, they want any plan for local governments to be as fair as possible for recipients.

Trickle-down effect

As for the state law, McCoy says they hope it can also bring financial relief to local governments. He says that could come from projected savings the state would see when it makes annual pension payments.

“That money, going into the state coffers for priorities like human resources and education, probably puts less pressure on the General Assembly to look at local government revenue,” McCoy said.  

McCoy is referring to state-shared income tax revenue that is distributed to local governments.