Opinion: Rep. David McSweeney on Reforming Pensions in Illinois

Reboot Illinois is conducting a series of conversations with Illinois freshman lawmakers. Here is an excerpt from their interview with Rep. David McSweeney earlier this month:

If you were to pass one bill, no politics involved, what would it be?
It would have to be pensions....We made some good progress in the House with the three measures that we passed. Limiting the cost of living adjustments, raising the retirement age and putting in place a salary cap for pensions. There’s nowhere to start unless we do pension reform because that obviously has a big effect on the budget. I certainly do not want to extend -- in fact I want to repeal -- the tax increase that I think has been a disaster in this state but ... Illinois has been insolvent since 2008 with $9 billion of unpaid bills with the type of pension liabilities we’re facing. So if I could pass one bill it would be pension reform.

Like you said, they’ve already passed three measures and more are being worked on. What are some of the things you’d like to see moving forward as part of the pension reform?
I think the central component is that we address the cost of living adjustments. So I support the measure, in fact I wrote about in a piece with Reboot, as you know, a couple weeks ago, I support limiting cost of living adjustments in the future. Specifically that  they apply to only the first $25,000 of income. So I’m very supportive of that measure. I’m supportive of raising the retirement age of the people that have worked and also putting in place a pensionable salary cap. Those are three good places to start. I think one thing that we have not done yet that we need to do is increase the employee contributions by two percentage points. I just think that will be part of a better overall program. Read more of Reboot's interview with Rep. David McSweeney.

Other links to Rep. David McSweeney's legislative initiatives: 
Eliminating position of Lt. Governor
Opposing graduated income tax