Governor JB Pritzker says consolidation of fire and police pensions will increase funding and lessen the burden on taxpayers.
“[The pension funds] would earn an additional $820 million to $2.5 billion over the next five years alone,” said Pritzker during a press conference on Thursday.
Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis called the governor’s plan a good first step, “It’s gonna take a lot of pressure off the municipalities in particular for having to make up for the money they’re not making on their investment.”
City Councilman Tim Riggenbach agreed, saying it will open new doors for Peoria’s fire and police pensions.
“This is going to make more investment opportunities available because a lot of these funds are too small to hold the best investment opportunities,” said Riggenbach.
But the Mayor says even if consolidation were to happen, the pension problem would be far from solved.
“”The most important thing that needs to be done, and the governor knows it, is look at the reamortization,” said Ardis.
Basically, cities throughout the state need more time to fund their pensions at least 90 percent by 2040. But, many of them, including Peoria, say 20 years is not enough time. Ardis says the state needs to issue an extension or a reamortization.”
“The reamortization over a longer period of time is what all of our cities need to literally survive this financial timebomb.”
The mayor warns that even though consolidation may become a reality, it is important to continue working towards a fix for the pension system.
“While the consolidation is good, I really hope that people don’t get complacent,” he added.
As of right now, the governor has only proposed a plan. Pritzker hopes the General Assembly will address it once they reconvene on Springfield at the end of October.