Legislation to close a costly public pension double-dipping loophole in Illinois cleared its final legislative hurdle Friday and will soon head to the Governor for his signature. House Bill 418 was guided through the General Assembly by Representative Grant Wehrli and Senator Michael Connelly. The measure will prevent retired law enforcement officers collecting a police pension, who accept a new active-duty position, from being eligible for a second police fund pension.
“The loophole in current law that allows double-dipping into the police pension systems is costing municipalities and local taxpayers a fortune. Retired law enforcement officers have earned their pensions, but they should not be entitled to multiple pensions that we can’t afford,” said Rep. Wehrli (R-Naperville).
“This is common sense legislation, and it’s time this costly loophole in the state’s pension system is resolved,” said Sen. Connelly (R-Naperville).
Under House Bill 418, retired law enforcement officers accepting new active duty positons will not be eligible for a new pension through a police pension fund or the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, but will be allowed to enroll in a 401 K-style defined contribution plan. The change was inspired by a recent court ruling involving the Naperville Police Pension Fund.
“Illinois’ pension system is in dire need of repair as our pension liabilities continue to rack up,” said Connelly. “While I recognize that many changes need to occur within the current system, this legislation at least gets us going in the right direction.”
“Our pension liability is the largest burden taxpayers face. Without reforms, the pension funds are headed toward insolvency. Closing this loophole is one step toward making sure that doesn’t happen,” Wehrli said.