May 4, 2012 -- Pension letter to Gov. Quinn and legislative leaders
Members of the University of Illinois community:
In these closing weeks of the scheduled legislative session in Springfield, there is heightened attention and activity around the critical issue of stabilizing the underfunded liabilities of Illinois' five public pension systems, including the State Universities Retirement System (SURS).
Leaders of our state's public universities have been engaged on their respective campuses and in Springfield for over a year to identify an equitable solution to the unsustainable pension funding shortfall. On Thursday, the presidents and chancellors of the state's public universities acted in unison to provide a "Statement of Objectives" for successfully resolving this issue. They did so in a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn and to the four leaders of the state House and Senate.
The letter states that any changes affecting SURS must provide "a credible certainty of retirement security to our employees." It lays out principles and specific conditions essential for a successful pension stabilization proposal. "It must also be financially sustainable for the state, the universities, the participant, and it must respect existing constitutional protection against impairment of already-accrued pension benefits," the letter stated.
Last week our University Senates Conference (USC) approved a resolution endorsing a similar set of principles and objectives. We commend the USC and faculty members for helping to draw attention to this important issue. We and our government relations team will continue to strongly advocate on this issue as the legislative session, scheduled to end May 31, progresses, as we have been throughout these discussions. Links to additional information on this subject are listed below.
Michael J. Hogan, President
Robert A. Easter, President-Designate
Letter (May 3) from presidents of state universities in Illinois:
USC statement (April 30):
Institute of Government & Public Affairs pension website: