SPRINGFIELD, ILL- Members of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association (IRTA), a statewide association of retired educators, their families and supporters, held a news conference Wednesday [March 2, 2016] at the Illinois Capitol about the need to protect and defend the benefits promised to retired teachers.
"We are sounding the alarm in regard to the proposed budget by the governor that would be catastrophic to retired educators," Dave Davison said, a former high school math teacher, administrator and coach and current president of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association. "It is unimaginable to think what retired teachers and families would endure if the governor's proposed cuts to the Teachers Retirement Insurance Program, commonly referred to as "TRIP" is allowed to pass."
In Governor Rauner's proposed budget, the contributions paid by the state to the group health insurance plan provided to TRS annuitants, survivors and retired employees has been zeroed out. IRTA estimates that at a minimum, healthcare costs for TRIP members would double.
"Teachers again are being used as the scapegoats for budget problems created by decades of politicians who did not fully fund teacher pension and benefit funds," Davison added. "The proposals being floated are immoral. These are the people who taught your parents, you and now your children."
…"It will take the combined support of all Illinois retired teachers to combat another threat," IRTA Executive Director Jim Bachman said. In 2015, the IRTA successfully defended an unconstitutional assault on pension benefits that were put in place by then Governor Quinn when he signed Senate Bill 1 into law. On May 8, 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously struck down the state's 2013 pension reform law, Senate Bill 1, upholding a lower court ruling that it violated the state constitution under the pension protection clause.
"The answer the State should be looking for is to find a revenue stream to adequately fund the pension systems and not defaulting on a promise to teachers," IRTA Government Affairs Director Mary Shaw said. "Raiding future health benefits is theft, and it must be called out as such," Bachman said. "The state will be stealing from teachers if these ideas come to fruition."
IRTA encourages all members to make sure they are current with their membership status to receive all the latest news and information about this and future threats. Join or renew your IRTA membership today by CLICKING HERE. IRTA members are asked to forward this message to any retired teacher, spouse or any other teacher supporter who is not yet a member of IRTA. "It will take the combined support of all Illinois retired teachers to combat this new and urgent threat," Bachman concluded.
The Illinois Retired Teachers Association represents 36,000 retired teachers and their families. IRTA is the sole watchdog for retired teachers in the Illinois legislature. Its goal is to maintain and improve benefits for annuitants of the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS); promote education and the professional, social and economic status of all members; and work in cooperation with other organizations to obtain these goals. For more information and to JOIN or RENEW NOW as a member or associate, visit IRTA's website: Click Here.