May 3, 2013

Dear Colleagues:

With less than a month remaining in the legislative session, movement is underway in Springfield to address Illinois' public pensions underfunding crisis and the situation is expected to remain fluid until the General Assembly's scheduled May 31 adjournment.

The University of Illinois will continue to be engaged in the process until work on this issue so critical to our employees is completed.

On Thursday, the Illinois House passed a comprehensive pension funding plan sponsored by Speaker Michael Madigan a little more than 24 hours after the nearly 300-page initiative was publicly introduced. It effectively substituted the Madigan plan for provisions of Senate Bill 1, a comprehensive plan sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton and passed by the Senate in April. The competing measures now must be reconciled by both chambers to pass legislation for Gov. Pat Quinn's consideration.

The fluidity and uncertainty of the situation in the face of a looming deadline affords an opportunity for renewed consideration of other ideas that have been proposed. Among them is a six-point plan published by the U of I Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) and championed by all of the state's public universities' presidents and chancellors.

The six-point plan this week received an analysis by SURS (the State Universities Retirement System) that concluded it would provide a comparable level of savings as several of the other proposed plans for resolving the pension funding shortfall. It does so without some of the provisions now contained in SB 1, such as the cap on pensionable income.

Please see for these documents and communications.

We will continue to make the case for our very reasonable and responsible alternative in the coming weeks as the various parties in Springfield seek a workable compromise. The U of I has been engaged in these deliberations since the very beginning''sharing the research and analysis of our experts, testifying at hearings, and meeting face-to-face with legislative leaders and their staff.

We understand that to recruit and retain the best people, the University must have a competitive and sustainable compensation and benefits package, including our pension program, and we are advocating to fulfill that objective. I urge you to stay abreast of developments through the media and online resources provided above.


Robert A. Easter, President
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