In passing his first bill in the Illinois House of Representatives, State Representative David S. Olsen did not shy away from one of the state’s most pressing issues- the need for property tax relief through local pension reform.
HB 291, which passed unanimously in the House on Wednesday, increases the requirements for a local elected official to become eligible for a public pension. The bill seeks to increase the number of hours an elected official must work to become eligible for a pension through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) from 600 to 1,000 hours. Currently these individuals can become pension-eligible at 600 hours unless a municipality or unit of local government has specifically approved a measure requiring them to work 1,000 hours per year. “This bill represents a good first step toward easing pressures on taxpayers who fund pensions at the local level,” said Olsen. “We expect a high standard of job performance from our elected officials, and while I believe we must go further, the new requirement is a good starting point to increase standards for local elected official pensions.”
Within days of the bill’s filing in mid-January, Olsen assembled a large number of co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. “The need for property tax relief and pension reform is not a Republican or a Democratic issue,” Olsen said. “There is not a legislator among us who does not hear almost daily from a constituent who is desperate for reforms that lead to tax relief.”
HB 291 received unanimous approval before the House Personnel & Pensions Committee earlier this month and now moves to the Senate for consideration.