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Top 25 of 2013: Pension tension

December 6, 2013

Photo of hammer about to break nervous piggy bankAs 2013 draws to a close, NIU Today offers a look back at 25 of the top stories from the year.

No. 25

In June, former NIU President John Peters and senior administrators unveiled a pension stabilization solution for the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) that enjoyed the unanimous support of presidents and chancellors of all Illinois public universities.

The framework to eliminate the state’s $100 billion pension shortfall is based on a March 2013 analysis published  by the respected University of Illinois Institute for Government & Public Affairs titled “Reforming SURS: Six Simple Steps.”

Just this week, however, members of the Illinois General Assembly voted for a pension reform package that include cuts to retiree cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), delayed retirements for those age 45 and younger and a 1 percent drop in employee contributions among other provisions.

“We continue to have concerns this legislation will have an adverse effect on our faculty, staff and annuitants and place NIU and Illinois’ public universities at a disadvantage in recruiting faculty and staff,” NIU President Doug Baker said. “However, the General Assembly has spoken; now we anticipate this legislation will quickly move to the courts where its merits will ultimately be decided.”