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As many of you have heard, the Governor is proposing the mandatory consolidation of all downstate and suburban police pension funds into one plan which will initially be controlled by the State. The local pension fund boards who currently serve officers would continue to exist for now, but they would no longer have any authority to invest money for local police officers. Instead, all of the money would be held and invested by one statewide fund.

The consolidated fund would initially be controlled by individuals exclusively appointed by the Governor. After 3 years, the fund would be managed by a board including mostly mayors, with some elected active employees and an elected annuitant trustee. The proposed board would have the lowest participant control/participation of any pension fund in the State. This represents a loss of police officers’ control over their own money.

Not surprisingly, the labor unions representing law enforcement have been working hard against this proposal. The Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association, Fraternal Order of Police and the Metropolitan Association of Police have been working together, hand in hand, to defeat this legislation.

Our biggest obstacle is the Governor’s simplistic catch phrases sound great. Phrases like “eliminate unnecessary government,” “reduce operational costs,” and “reduce property taxes” all sound great, but they are not based on any reliable analysis or any verified numbers. This proposal will require municipalities to spend a massive amount of money up front in the hopes they will recover their cash outlay over a period of at least a decade. Over the long term, it might reduce some costs and it could potentially allow some funds to achieve higher returns, but it will take years.

This complex issue requires diligent study from actuaries, investment professionals, and other industry experts. It requires inclusion of, and buy-in from, all stakeholder groups. More than anything, this proposal needs time to be fully vetted and fairly analyzed. It needs to be publicly debated based upon reliable information. It can not be like so many of Illinois’ recent pension ideas like Tier II, Tier III and SB1 which all failed because they were pushed through quickly without proper discussion with professionals and affected parties, resulting in numerous unintended consequences.

Consolidating $8 billion requires thoughtful, transparent due diligence. Certainly, the upcoming veto session does not provide an adequate amount of time to vet the Governor’s consolidation gambit.

We do appreciate the Governor’s inclusion of some much needed benefit fixes for downstate and suburban police officers who are under Tier II. The Governor has proposed some fixes, but realistically, the fixes he has proposed are not enough to hand over control of $8 billion to the State of Illinois, especially considering the state’s abysmal track record in managing its own pension funds.

We can certainly use the help of all our members in communicating your concerns. We have seen many great letters to the editor reiterating our concerns. We also encourage our law enforcement community both active and retired to contact their State Senators and Representatives and let them know this proposal is bad for police officers, bad for communities, and bad for taxpayers.

IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHO YOUR STATE SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVE ARE FOLLOW THIS LINK TYPE IN AND CONFIRM YOUR ADDRESS AND YOU CAN SEE WHO THEY ARE AND WHERE TO CALL THEM!

https://www.elections.il.gov/ElectionOperations/DistrictLocator/AddressFinder.aspx

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