RetiredTeacher350Benefits for retired teachers are a target of Gov. Bruce Rauner again this year as he seeks to balance the state budget on the backs of working people and retirees.

Here’s what you need to know.

The governor outlined a framework for what he described as a “balanced” budget during a speech to the General Assembly on Valentine’s Day.

Unfortunately for the people of Illinois, his plan relies on lots of imagined savings from measures that would require favorable court decisions, agreements with unions, the sale of real estate and other iffy acts that could take years – should they happen at all.

Among the savings Gov. Rauner banks on in his proposal: $129 million by gutting health insurance for retired teachers and community college employees. He wants to double the out-of-pocket cost for retirees to go to the doctor, see specialists, undergo necessary surgeries and purchase medication.

Specifically, his plan eliminates the state’s $125 million subsidy for the Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) and the $4.4 million subsidy for the College Insurance Program (CIP).

I see two significant problems with the governor’s proposal. First, it likely would be found unconstitutional. Second, it targets retired teachers whose modest pensions barely offer them enough to pay the utility bills and fill the refrigerator each month – people like elderly kindergarten teachers who haven’t set foot in a classroom in decades and have no Social Security to fall back on.

Here's an article from the Springfield State Journal-Register that contains more details about the governor's planned cuts and how they would affect retired teachers.

Gov. Rauner has proposed a heartless plan to weaken retirement security for aging teachers who worked hard during their careers to educate children. Democratic and Republican lawmakers are jointly opposed to the idea, and I believe we can come together to find other ways to save $129 million.

I will continue to keep you informed about developments regarding any cuts to the TRIP and CIP programs, but should you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office at 217-782-0228.

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