CHICAGO, May 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF), the Retired Teachers Association of Chicago (RTAC), the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association (CPAA), and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) announced their support for House Bill 3695, a measure which reinstates the pension tax levy diverted from CTPF in 1995.
"Our four groups, representing more than 63,000 members stand united in support of this important bill," said Executive Director Charles A. Burbridge of the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund. "This legislation restores our pension levy, without raising taxes, and returns a stable source of revenue to our pension fund."
"For two decades our members have seen their fund drained by IOUs and pension 'holidays'," said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. "This legislation restores our revenue source and sets a foundation for a sound pension fund. Legislators in the Illinois House showed overwhelming support for this legislation and we respectfully ask Senate President Cullerton to call this bill so that our voices can be heard in the Senate."
The proposal reestablishes a specific tax levy for contributions to CTPF beginning in Fiscal Year 2016. In 1995, legislation diverted the CTPF tax levy into the CPS operating budget, giving CPS administrators control over pension contributions. CPS then deferred their contributions from 1996 to 2005. As a result, CTPF lost $2 billion in revenue. CPS again deferred contributions from 2010 to 2013 and cost the fund another $1.2 billion. In total, CTPF has foregone more than $3.2 billion in funding.
The bill restores the tax levy, equal to 0.26% of all taxable property within the Chicago Public Schools district, and would generate approximately $160 to $180 million in 2016. The bill does not increase taxes, but reduces the CPS levy from 3.07% to 2.81% to fund pensions. The 0.26% of tax levied each year will be deposited directly with CTPF.
The bill is now waiting to be called for a vote in the Illinois Senate where it is being sponsored by Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) with Co-Sponsors Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), Sen. Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago), Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), Sen. Napoleon Harris, III, (D-Harvey), Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), Sen. Martin A. Sandoval (D-Cicero), Sen. Heather A. Steans (D-Chicago), and Sen. Michael E. Hastings (D-Matteson).
The bill took a major step on April 14, 2015, when it passed out of the Illinois House with bi-partisan support on a vote of 102 to 9. The legislation was written and sponsored by State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr., (D-Chicago) and House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago) with Chief Co-Sponsor Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), and received bi-partisan support from several additional Co-Sponsors including Rep. David Harris (R-Mount Prospect), Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights), Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford), Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago), Rep. Christian L. Mitchell (D-Chicago), Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago), Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (D-Chicago), and Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago).
Established by the Illinois state legislature in 1895, the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund manages members' assets and administers benefits. The $10.9 billion pension fund serves approximately 63,000 active and retired educators, and provides pension and health insurance benefits to more than 27,700 beneficiaries.
SOURCE Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF)