Illinois retirees react to pension reform bill - New York News

Retirees worry after pension reform passes in Illinois

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Retiree Jennifer Edwards Retiree Jennifer Edwards
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

There is a lot of concern among retirees Tuesday night as they look ahead and try to assess just how the pension deal will impact their income.

SEE: Illinois Legislature approves fix for $100B pension crisis

Jennifer Edwards is not only upset, she feels betrayed. For 30 years she worked as an office administrator at the University of Illinois Chicago and contributed to her pension. But with Tuesday's deal, her UIC pension will be reduced as the 3 percent COLA — or cost of living allowance -- will be replaced with a system that only provides for increases on a portion of her benefits.

"Now that's gonna be reduced, and it's estimated on my pension, which is about 35,000," Edwards said. "In 10 years I'll lose about 30 percent. That's a lot.

"Everything is going up, okay, so I'm already cutting back, so I'm gonna have to figure out some other ways to cut back," she continued. "I may have to give up my house."

Neighbor Betella Warren, a retired CPS teacher won't be affected by this deal, but Chicago pension reform is coming next year. She is concerned for friends also living on a fixed income.

"When I heard the news, I was like, this is totally ridiculous," Warren says. "Totally ridiculous."

Edwards said lawmakers who promised to stand with pensioners and then voted for this deal anyways are turncoats who will reap the consequences the next election.

"We have vowed, me and other retirees in my age group, that we are going to vote them out of office," Edwards said.

The first protests are scheduled for Wednesday.

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