Notes from GSU SUAA’s January Meeting

Click here to download notes from the January 29, 2015 meeting of the GSU chapter of SUAA.

(The file is in pdf format. You can get the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software here.)

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Posted by on March 4, 2015 in GSU SUAA, Meetings, Membership


Action Alert HB 403 – Elimination of Tuition Waivers – University Personnel – OPPOSE!

To All University Members and Readers!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 4, HB 403 will be heard in the House State Government Administration Committee at 1:00 p.m.

This bill is especially of interest to current employees who are depending on a 50% tuition waiver that is earned by university employees for their
children to attend a public university in Illinois.

HB 403 would repeal the provisions that permit the children of employees of a State university who have been employed by any one or by more than one
State university for an aggregate period of at least 7 years to receive a 50% tuition waiver.

Click here for a list of the members on the House State Government Administration Committee. Phone numbers are included.

SUAA is asking that you call the Committee Members to OPPOSE HB 403.

Most of you have your own reasons for objecting to this bill, however just in case here are a few to assist with your objection.

* Consideration to work for State supported universities in addition to salary, pension and health benefits

* In the past there have been furlough days – leave without pay – according to Governor Rauner it looks as if this could happen again. Therefore this becomes a further reduction in pay.

* Just as in the private sector, many employees need financial assistance for their children to obtain a 4-year degree. Not everyone can receive scholarships to do so nor afford to go in debt through student loans.

* Salary increases are not guaranteed.

* The 50% tuition waiver is budget neutral to the State. Eliminating the waiver would in NO way represent ANY savings to the State or its taxpayers.

* Civil service employees within the State Universities Civil Service System earn far less than civil service employees hired by the State of Illinois Central Management Services. Some entry level classifications are paid 50-60% less than our colleagues at the State of Illinois. The tuition benefit was added to offset the salary disparity between University and State employees. The tuition benefit is part of the overall compensation package. Loss of the 50% tuition waiver would require salaries of University employees to be increased to rates equal to the State of Illinois.

* Universities in less populated areas of the State already struggle to hire well qualified candidates–particularly in areas requiring advanced technology or health care licenses/certificates. University employees include nurses and other professional health care workers which are in high demand. With salaries already quite low, the loss of the tuition benefit as a recruitment tool will make hiring well qualified employees much more difficult.

* The 50% tuition waiver assists universities struggling with low enrollment. While the waiver reduces the tuition by half, the enrolled student still pays 100% of fees, room/board, books, etc. Without this 50% waiver children/students may choose to attend community colleges or online degree/certification programs instead of patronizing 4 year institutions. University employees who can afford to allow their children to attend out of state colleges & universities will no longer have an incentive to select in-state institutions of higher learning.

* Of equal importance is the fact that universities SUPPORT the 50% waivers.

Thank you for your assistance!

Linda L. Brookhart
Executive Director
State Universities Annuitants Association


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Posted by on March 3, 2015 in Uncategorized


Some Items from the SURS News

Two items of interest in the latest SURS news.

1. There is one contested election for a SURS trustee. It is between Mitch Vogel and Fred Giertz from the U of I. Many of you know Mitch Vogel from his years as President of the UPI. He has served on the SURS board for many years and was also the chair of the board. He has a long history of working for all retirees as well as for the employees in our universities and community colleges.

2. Alert for people considereing retiring in the next year or two—- There will be a change in the money purchase formula effective 1/4/16. The formula will decrease due to a change in actuarial assumptions. According to SURS, the change will mean that those planning on retiring after the effective date next January will need to work about 9 months longer to receive the same annuity. Contact SURS for information on your particular situation.

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Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


Fed court declines to decide Illinois pension issue – – Rockford’s News Leader

CHICAGO (AP) -A federal appeals court in Chicago has declined to resolve a contentious issue over whether Illinois’ constitution strictly bars the reduction of retiree benefits.

A unanimous decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the question is best left, at least for now, to the state. The panel posted the ruling late Wednesday.

Chicago retirees filed the suit last year against the city of Chicago. It argued that the state constitution and federal contract law prohibit the city from forcing retirees to pay more for health care.

The court’s opinion says plaintiffs hadn’t shown how U.S. contract law applies. It also says the federal court was "reluctant to resolve a novel issue of state constitutional law" that is still working its way through state legal and legislative channels.

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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


February SURS Newsletter

The February Advocate is now available online, featuring articles on the Board of Trustees election, SURS investment team, the Self-Managed Plan, legislation passed during veto session, Money Purchase Factor changes, and our 2014 Employee of the Year.

Click here to view.

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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Uncategorized


IL Supreme Court Schedules Oral Arguments in Pension Lawsuit for March 11, 2015

February 20, 2015

To all members and friends!

The Illinois Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for the pension reform lawsuit case on March 11, 2015.

Click Here to read: Brief of Plaintiffs-Appellees State Universities Annuitants Association, et al.
In Re: Pension Reform Litigation)

In addition, this is for all of you who like to know a bit more about what is going on at the Capitol.

These are the bills we are tracking, along with some general interest legislation.
If you hear of a bill that you would like tracked, let me know!

Click Here to read the ActionTRACK Report

Linda L. Brookhart
Executive Director
State Universities Annuitants Association

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Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Courts, Legal, Legislation


SUAA Mini Briefing 2.18.2015

To all SUAA Members and Friends!

Today was Governor Rauner’s first budget address after being in his position for a bit more than a month. Cuts, cuts and more cuts. Plus lots of changes. The Mini Briefing is lengthy. Included is a written copy of his Budget Address if you do not want to listen.

Click here to read Mini Briefing

Click here to read Proposed Summary

Please read all the way through as there is information that will be referred to as the Legislative Session progresses. Remember, this is a Proposed or Introduced Budget. Nothing is final in this budget.

We have a task before us!

Linda L. Brookhart
Executive Director
State Universities Annuitants Association


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