Triton College Annuitants Association
Mary Jeans elected new TCAA president at the spring 2018 Luncheon. See her welcome message below in the Welcome from the TCAA President section below.
New TCAA board elected. See TCAA Officers below for list and photo.
NEW! The history of the TCAA is now available to read and also a list of the guest speakers that have appeared over the years at our luncheons. See Communications below.
The TCAA is one of 53 chapters of the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA). They provide the framework for a unified message dedicated to preserving and protecting a strong public pension system, healthcare benefits, and the general well-being of its membership They also advocate on behalf of all faculty and staff of public universities and community colleges - both retired and current employees - their spouses and survivors, who are participants and beneficiaries of the State Universities Retirement System.
Welcome from the TCAA President
Many voices together are hard to ignore!
If this is your first time visiting our page, welcome! We’re glad you’re interested in learning more about TCAA, and possibly in joining us as we, along with SUAA and other chapters, work to maintain our pensions and benefits. Chapters of SUAA are located in all of the public colleges and universities across the state.
Something I’ve often heard when we visit campus concerns me. People say that they’re interested in joining us after they retire. However, it’s important to realize that our benefits are under constant scrutiny by the state, and we need to raise our voices as retirees and currently working people who expect to receive the pensions and healthcare benefits we earned through our careers. If you are concerned about the ongoing threat to our pensions and healthcare, join today. Dues are only $40/year. Spouses and current employees still working are welcome to join as well, since they may also expect to receive benefits through the state. Please consider being one of our many voices fighting to maintain our retirement benefits.
Our spring and fall luncheons provide a wonderful opportunity to see and visit with people we used to work with every day, as well as meet some folks who were at Triton before or after we were. The last several luncheons have been on campus, where we’ve enjoyed the culinary delights provided by our wonderful Hospitality Department and their fantastic students. In addition, we also have an interesting and informative speaker. If you haven’t attended one yet, please watch for the announcement of our next luncheon, and join us if you can. You’ll be glad you did!
Our newsletter is compiled by Bob Anthony, and includes information from additional directors as well. Each edition is packed with helpful and useful information. If you haven’t seen our latest one, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to email it to you.
SUAA, led by Executive Director Linda Brookhart, keeps track of what’s going on in Springfield, monitoring legislation, and supporting that which supports our continued benefits, while leading the fight against any diminishment in pensions or healthcare. Recently, SUAA proposed a bond issue that would allow the state to pay a lower interest rate on the state’s pension debt, resulting in an estimated savings of $103 billion by 2045. This is but one example of the good work being done on our behalf by this organization. To learn more, you can visit SUAA online at http://www.SUAA.org.
I am honored and excited about this opportunity to serve as TCAA’s president for these two years. Please feel free to reach out to me, or any of the directors, if you have questions or thoughts to share about TCAA. I’ll look forward to hearing from you, and I’ll hope to see you soon.
Email contact or for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
No events scheduled at this time.
- TCAA Board Meeting Minutes: 02-11-20
- TCAA Board Meeting Minutes: 01-14-20
- TCAA Fall 2019 Luncheon Minutes: 10-22-19
- TCAA Newsletter - Fall 2019
- TCAA Board Meeting Minutes: 06-25-19
- TCAA Spring 2019 Luncheon Minutes: 04-16-19
- TCAA Board Meeting Minutes: 03-28-19
- TCAA Board Meeting Minutes: 02-07-19
- TCAA Newsletter - Fall 2018
- TCAA Spring 2018 Luncheon Minutes: 04-17-18
- TCAA Newsletter - Spring 2018
- TCAA History
- History of TCAA Luncheon Programs
Health and Insurance
TRAIL Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment
The Open Enrollment period for each upcoming calendar year begins around October 15th and runs for about a month. If you are over 65 and on Medicare, newly eligible members will be required to enroll online during this TRAIL Open Enrollment period. Informational seminars will be held statewide around that time to give eligible retirees and survivors an opportunity to learn about the Total Retiree Advantage Illinois (TRAIL) Program. Topics will include eligibility criteria and an explanation of the benefits provided through the Program. Representatives from the Department of Central Management Services (CMS), the Medicare Advantage plans, and Silver Sneakers will be present to answer your questions. If you are currently enrolled in TRAIL, and want to continue with no changes, you don't have to do anything.
In order to be eligible for the Total Retiree Advantage Illinois (TRAIL) Program, retirees and survivors of the State, CIP and TRIP group insurance programs must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. In addition, any covered dependent must also be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B in order to be eligible for TRAIL coverage. If either the member or any dependent on the member’s insurance through the State is not enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, then all are ineligible for TRAIL Medicare Advantage plans. Members and dependents of non-Medicare households must seek benefits under the non-Medicare programs offered by the State.
For more information, the web site is: MyBenefits.Illinois.gov
The 2020 premiums for the TRAIL Medicare Advantage plans are indicated below:
2020 Member Rates (effective January 1, 2020)
HMO Plans: $48.95
PPO Plan (United Healthcare): $58.91
2020 Dependent Rates
HMO Plans: $145.78
PPO Plan (United Healthcare): $235.62
The State of Illinois offers annuitants and survivors under the College Insurance Program (CIP) a healthcare program called Total Retiree Advantage Illinois (TRAIL). This program provides eligible members and their covered dependents comprehensive medical and prescription drug coverage through Medicare Advantage plans (commonly referred to as “MAPD” plans). The CIP program also includes vision coverage through EyeMed, and dental coverage through Delta Dental.
All Illinois counties have an HMO and PPO option. Annuitants and survivors residing outside Illinois may elect the PPO option available nationwide. If you are over sixty-five and have Medicare and choose the Medicare Advantage program the State of Illinois is offering, please remember that you no longer will use the Federal government's Medicare card, but instead use the one from the Medicare Advantage program being offered by the State. You will still pay the Medicare premium each month to the federal government.
Medicare Rates 2020
The standard monthly Part B premium will be $144.60 for calendar year 2020, but can be higher depending on your income.
Click this link to get a detailed explanation of Medicare rates and deductibles for 2020.
College Insurance Program (CIP)
May 01 through June 01 is the Benefits Choice/Open enrollment period for CIP program.
If you are an eligible benefit recipient who does not currently participate in the plan, the Open Enrollment Period gives you an opportunity to sign up for health, dental and vision coverage through the plan. Coverage could be provided to you and any eligible dependents at the current premium rates.
The Open Enrollment Period lasts from May 1 through June 1, and is the only opportunity eligible members have to enroll in this plan without meeting certain limited criteria. If you choose to participate in this plan, coverage will become effective July 1 and premiums will be deducted from your July benefit payment.
For more information on the current rates; who the participating insurance companies are; or enrollment; visit www.benefitschoice.il.gov. You can review the benefits Choice Options Book and College Insurance Plan Handbook.
Click the link below to read the article about transitioning to Medicare, for those approaching 65.
- Transitioning to Medicare: Part 1 - Medicare Sign-Up and Basics by Ken Piwower
- Transitioning to Medicare: Part 2 - Supplemental Plans by Ken Piwower
Click this link for more info on the State's Medicare Advantage Plan, called TRAIL.
Message from Eleonore Weber, Insurance Broker
Hello TCAA members
Where has the time gone? (both literally and figuratively). I don’t know what is more alarming: the fact that we lost an hour of sleep or a whole third of 2017 already. Whichever has you more determined to make a change in your lifestyle is what you should use as motivation!
March was National Nutrition Month and in April, we are start seeing more fresh fruits and vegetables in our stores and in our gardens. Artichokes, asparagus, honeydew and STRAWBERRIES are just a few of the early season’s best that are part of a healthy diet. Moreover, the warmer weather provides more opportunities for outdoor activities like a brisk walk, a quick run, or a long bike ride.
Whether you are a millennial or baby boomer, a well-chosen role model or mentor can provide guidance on how to achieve a healthy and financially smart lifestyle.
In addition, if you or someone you know has lost more than an hour of sleep caring for a loved one either at home or in a facility, there are lots of ways to stay physically and mentally healthy with the help of others. “How to Support a Caregiver” is a must read if it’s for someone you love or even yourself. Moreover, Life and Long-Term Care insurance can be a major support for you and your family in the future. A complimentary consultation about securing your future is available at any time.
Now on the National Healthcare front, the truth is, healthcare has changed over the last few and is still evolving for individuals and group health plans; continuous policy premium increases including the co-pays and deductibles. At times, the minimum cost for healthcare insurance is greater than most monthly mortgages. And, it is vital to watch for the annual changes to healthcare plan’s (Medical Providers) networks and their limitations. . . .
Yes, providers are your doctors, treatment centers, diagnostic testing….drugs and pharmacy retailers. Consequently, please do not rely on the past as your bases for the future. In order for you to achieve manageable health insurance premiums, plan for an increase in shared costs. In addition, for current updates regarding Healthcare and Medicare policy, it best to consult your local Federal Congress representative and senator----- however, no changes for the immediate future (2017).
“For now, the Affordable Care Act is still in force. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has been operating under the assumption that the ACA and ACA-related regulations and policies will continue to govern the individual major medical market in 2018.”
Thank you to the many TCAA members who have called me for assistances during the past few years, as well as their referrals to their trusted family members and friends. Remember, if you are frustrated the rising healthcare costs, we can discuss options to offset co-pays, deductibles for outpatient and inpatient surgery, rehabilitation skilled care, doctors, medical and hospital deductibles. Beware, that these valuable options are only available before a doctor’s diagnose. Please feel free call!
In the short-run, continue to make healthy choices and living . . . all year long.
Eleonore Weber, CLTC
Your Life Security.
Licensed Insurance Broker - Disability, Health, Life and Long-Term Care Insurance
Mobile (312) 952-1706
Web site: www.yourlifesecurity.com
“HELPING PEOPLE SECURE AND PRESERVE THEIR ASSETS AND FUTURE”
Rita Lawless passed away on January 27, 2020 at the age of 91. Rita was a dedicated nurse and the retired Director of Health Services at Triton, where she served for many years. She had been a TCAA member for 18 years.
Retired faculty member Jean Hornewer passed away in September 2019 at the age of 86. Jean had been a member of the Triton Court Reporting faculty and later became Coordinator of the Court Reporting Program.
Retired faculty member Stephen Branz passed away in August 2019 at the age of 79. Steve had taught in the Business department and had also been a counselor before retiring from Triton in 1997.
Retired Triton professor, Annette Jajko, passed away in May, 2019, at the age of 67. During her 20+ years in the Business Department, she earned several outstanding awards.
Retired Triton employee, Donald Stuffelbeam, passed away in March 2019 at the age of 85. Stuff had been a long time Triton administrator, handling building contracts and construction projects, among many other things. Don was also a Korean war veteran in his younger days. Don's late wife Louise had also been a long time Triton employee. Before her passing in early 2017, Lou and Don had been married for 63 years.
Retired Triton employee Florence Weese passed away in February 2019 at the age of 97. Florence had for many years been the head reference librarian at Triton and was also Triton's archivist. Florence also had a leadership role in the Oak Park-River Forest Historical Society and several other organizations.
Norm Wiegel, retired long time Chairman of the Triton Fine Arts Department, passed away in January 2019 at the age of 82.
Our condolences to Maggie Hahn-Wade on the passing of her husband Mark Wade in early July, 2018. Maggie and Mark had been married for 50 years. Maggie is a retired Triton faculty member and former president of the Triton College Faculty Association.
Retired Triton employee Beverly Seaton passed away in June 2018, at the age of 68. In her 25 years at Triton, Bev had worked in the Information Systems Dept and later as the secretary to the Dean of Arts & Sciences.
Retired employee Julia Kovall passed away in June 2018. Julia had been a secretary in the HIA program (Hospitality Industry) in the 70s and 80s.
Retired Triton faculty member Dan Bourbulas passed away in March, 2018, at the age of 86. In his 27 years at Triton, Dan had been a professor and Chairman of the Social Sciences Dept. Prior to that, he had been a teacher and dean at Argo High School for 10 years.
Retired Triton faculty member Robert Witherspoon passed away in Feb. 2018 at the age of 76. Bob had been the Dean of Business at Triton, and had also been an instructor in Marketing and Accounting. Bob had been a former president of the Triton College Annuitants Association (2010-12) and had also served on the Board of that organization for many years. Bob was also a US Air Force veteran.
Joseph Patricelli passed away in Feb. 2018, at the age of 89. Joseph was the father of Triton College President Mary Rita Moore, and the husband of retired Triton employee Venus Patricelli. Joseph was retired after 41 years as a school principal in Addison School District. He was also a former Grand Knight of the Holy Ghost Knights of Columbus, and was a founder of the Eisenhower Public Library in Harwood Heights.
Ray Oviyach, retired faculty member of the Triton Automotive Dept, passed away in Jan. 2018, after a fall on ice. He was 87 and had been living in Kingwood,TX. Ray had been in the US Air Force from 1950-54 and had served in the Korean War. He retired from Triton in 1998 and later served as the President of the Triton College Annuitants Association.
Triton employee Melissa (Missy) Cabrera passed away at the age of 51. Missy was a secretary in the Science Dept, and had been a secretary of the Cook County Teachers Union.
Former Triton College Trustee and Board Chairman Merrill Becker, Jr. passed away in Jan. 2018. Mr. Becker was also a US Army veteran who had risen to the rank of Colonel.
Retired Triton employee Gene Westphal passed away in Jan. 2018, at the age of 90. Gene had been the Head Librarian at Triton from 1967-1991.
Retired Triton employee Mary Patock passed away on Dec. 31, 2017, at the age of 90. In her 25 years at Triton, Mary was the Admission Records Evaluator for the Nursing Programs, and before that, secretary to the VP of Human Resources.
Retired Triton employee Jim Thomas passed away on Dec. 18, 2017. Jim worked as an electrician in the Triton Maintenance Dept.
Triton employee John Sorce passed away on Dec. 21, 2017. John ran the Triton cafeteria for 12 years.
Shirley Lehman of the Triton ADN faculty passed away in July, 2017. She had originally been a member of the LPN faculty, later earned a Master's degree, and became a member of the ADN faculty.
Joan Bondi, wife of retired Triton faculty member Tom Bondi, passed away in June, 2017, at the age of 80.
Retired Triton employee Lou (Louise) Stuffelbeam passed away on Feb, 18, 2017, at the age of 84. Lou worked at Triton for many years in the Admissions Department, and later was in charge of scheduling. She retired in 2002. Her husband Don is also a retired Tritonite. They were married for 64 years.
Former Triton Faculty member Arnold Wolfe passed away in Jan, 2017, at the age of 69. He had taught Communications and Journalism at Triton, and was the adviser for the Trident newspaper. He later also taught at Ill. State University.
John Varga, husband of Pat Varga, passed away in late Dec. 2016, at the age of 73.Jerome Drosos of the Hospitality Industry Administration program passed away in December 2016, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 63. Jerome was a former Triton student in the Hospitality Program in the 1970's, who went on to eventually become the Coordinator of the HIA program and a full time faculty member in that program. Triton retiree Robert Mazurek passed away in December, 2016. He was the father of Steve Mazurek, lead person from Maintenance. John Kuhns, retired Triton Chief Stationary Engineer, passed away on November 7, 2016. Kay Silva, wife of retired Triton faculty John Silva, passed away on Nov, 16, 2016, in Tucson AZ, after a lengthy illness. John plans to hold a "Celebration of Life" in the Midwest in the summer of 2017. For those who like to give a memorial gift, consider the Catherine and John Silva Liver Transplant and Research Fund at the University of Iowa Foundation. For more info about this gift, contact: email@example.com
Barbara Hodalski, wife of retired Triton faculty Frank Hodalski, passed away on Sept. 1, 2016. They were living in Sarasota, FL. Four days earlier, Frank's youngest son passed away of a terminal illness. A service will be held in Sarasota on Sept 30, 2016. For more info, call 941-552-7546.
James Gray, a full-time Automotive faculty member at Triton, passed away in July, 2016.
Retired Triton employee Janet Jaback passed away in Feb. 2015, at the age of 69. Janet had taught in the Hospitality Program at Triton, and later was the Cooperative Education coordinator. Janet retired in early 2014.
Retired Triton faculty member Robert Hlavin died in July 2015, at the age of 83, in Rockford, IL. Bob had been a Professor of English at Triton from when the college opened in 1964 until his retirement in 1992. He had also been a playwright and an independent Hemingway scholar. Bob had served in the US Army from 1953-55, and received a military burial in Sturgis, SD.
Retired Triton English instructor Thomas Meehan passed away in June, 2015. Tom had been a cross country coach in the early years of Triton, and had formerly been an English teacher and Hall of Fame Track Coach at DePaul. He was an also an avid bicycle rider.
Retired Triton employee Jean Powell passed away in Dec. 2014, at the age of 85. Jean had been an Academic Advisor at Triton and was a resident of Oak Park.
Retired faculty member Alan Wade passed away in Nov. 2014. Alan had formerly been the Chairperson of the Triton Science dept. After his retirement, Alan and his wife Jan moved to Kuttawa, Kentucky.
Retired Triton employee Margaret Bruzas passed away in July, 2014. She was 94 and had worked as a secretary in the Triton Athletic Department until her retirement. In 1991, she moved to Grand Rapids, MI, to live near her daughter.
Hilda Virgien Clark passed away on December 13, 2013. Virg, as she was known, was a long time member of the A.D. Nursing Faculty. She was dedicated to the students with whom she worked and provided excellent instruction in critical care nursing. She was highly respected by the Nursing Faculty.
Martin Ptacek passed away on Aug 13, 2014 at the age of 91. Martin had been a photo offset instructor at Triton and was a long-time resident of Elmhurst. He was also a WW2 veteran, a dedicated and ranked chess player, and a lifelong camera enthusiast.
Retired Triton faculty member Jeff Austin passed away on Aug. 1, 2014, at the age of 81. Jeff had been in the P.E. Dept at Triton, and was living in Ludington, MI. His wife Susan passed away the following day. Jeff had for many years been the Director of the Triton Trouper Circus, and had been President of the United States Trampoline Association.
Retired Triton employee John Rosenbrock passed away on July 16, 2014, of cancer at the age of 61. John had worked for Triton for 30 years, including being the Director of Media Services. John was also a Vietnam War veteran. His wife Diana is also a retired Triton employee.
Retired Triton employee Bev Curry passed away in April, 2014, at the age of 77. Beverly was the coordinator of the Continuing Education for Health Careers Department at Triton, and also had worked at Oakton Community College.
Retired Triton faculty member Martha Duchon passed away on January 12, 2014 at the age of 91. She retired from the A.D. Nursing program in 1988 after a long career in Nursing which included serving in the U.S. Army as a nurse during WWII in China, Burma and India. Martha was a highly regarded faculty member in the A.D. Nursing Department and was well liked by her students.
Retired faculty member Raymond McNamee passed away on May 21, 2014, at the age of 82. He was a former chairman of the Mathematics Dept., and had also been a Korean War veteran.
Professor Emeritus John Wager passed away in May, 2013. At Triton, he taught Philosophy and in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. Dr. Wager had a PhD in Philosophy from Northwestern University. John was also a US Army Vietnam veteran and the author of "Quiet Year at War."
A retired member of the Triton Nursing Careers Department, Vivien C. Wagner, died on April 11, 2013. She was an R.N. and worked as the supervisor of the Nursing Lab at Triton College for many years. She was 79 at the time of her death.
Dr. Alex Lane passed away in early February, 2013. Dr. Lane was a faculty member in the Triton Science Dept. for 34 years until his retirement in 1999. Alex was born on a rural farm in Georgia, and from those beginnings rose to a full time faculty position at Triton College with a PhD in human anatomy from the U. of Illinois. Alex was one of the original Triton faculty members personally interviewed and hired by Triton’s founding president, Dr. Herbert Zeitlin, when the brand new community college was getting started in 1965. Alex taught anatomy, zoology, and biology and was the author of several books and papers in his field. He was voted Triton Faculty member of the year in 1995 by students and faculty.
The following memories about Alex Lane were submitted by retired faculty member Bob Hlavin:
Alex Lane in my mind remains the perfect gentleman and scholar. In his humble fashion, Alex kept me abreast of scholarly achievements over the years, all of which reflected considerable credit on Triton College and his peers. His invitation and participation in a seminar at Heidelberg, Germany was especially noteworthy. On a personal note, Alex came to my office and asked to borrow an English dictionary. Having more than one, I handed Alex an American Heritage edition. As my retirement neared, Bob Anthony of the Science Department offered me an American Heritage dictionary found in the science department area. "Your name is printed on the cover. Robert Hlavin." I was pleased to note that the dictionary showed wear... well spent.
Till we meet again, Alex. - Bob Hlavin
Gordon Simonsen passed away in early Feb. 2012, in Huntley, IL, at the age of 89. Mr. Simonsen was one of the founding members of Triton College in the 1960’s, and served as Executive Vice-President until his retirement in 1979. Mr. Simonsen also served in the US Army in WW2, including the 10th Armored Division during the Battle of the Bulge.
Retired Triton administrator John Trebbe passed away in August, 2011, in Galesburg, IL, at the age of 87. Known as “Jack” Trebbe, he was the Dean of Continuing Education at Triton College from 1963 until his retirement in 1984. Earlier in his life, Jack served in the US Navy during WWII and the Korean War, and later was a Lt. Commander in the US Naval Reserve.
Retired faculty member Russell Bruce passed away on July, 26, 2011, at the age of 78. Russell was the first Automotive Technology instructor at the newly formed Triton College in the 1960's. Later in his career, he served in the Business Dept. until his retirement from Triton.
Retired faculty member Dorothy Libner passed away on Oct. 10, 2011, at the age of 85. Dorothy taught in the Business Department at Triton for 23 years, and was a former chair of the Secretarial Dept.
Triton Webmaster Alan Dudak passed away on Aug. 25, 2010, of a brain tumor. Alan was 39 years old and was employed in Triton's Information Systems Department.
Retired faculty member Algis Turner passed away in early April 2010. Al was hired in 1968 and was a full-time faculty member at Triton for 30 years, teaching primarily Tech Physics, until his retirement in the late 1990s.
Dr. Herbert Zeitlin passed away on March 2, 2010, in Woodland Hills, Calif., at the age of 91. Dr. Zeitlin was the founding president of Triton College, hired in 1964 by the original board of trustees to organize and start up the first community college in the area. Dr. Zeitlin personally interviewed and hired many of the college's original faculty and administrators. Triton held its first classes in the fall of 1965 on the campus of West Leyden High School. Eventually land for a new permanent campus was acquired, and the college moved to its present River Grove location in 1968, adding buildings over the years. Under Dr. Zeitlin's leadership, Triton was named one of the country's outstanding community colleges by Time magazine in 1973. Dr. Zeitlin was Triton's president for 12 years until 1976, at which time he returned to California and served as a college president in that state. After his retirement, he continued to work in education as a consultant and author.
Elmore Boeger, one of the original board members of Triton College, passed away in 2009 at the age of 95. When Triton College was being organized in 1964, many names were being considered for the brand new community college, but it was Mr. Boeger who suggested the name Triton College, a reflection of the three townships that the college district encompassed. Mr. Boeger will be remembered as "the man who named Triton College."
Click here for the Sept. 13, 2017 Mini Briefing.
Senate Bill 16 just passed the Senate (31-21-00) It was unanimously decoupled from the Grand Bargain. Heads to the House.
-Linda Brookhart, SUAA
For more links to Legislative News items, click SUAA in the left column.
Need to contact your legislator, but don't remember who it is? Click the link below to find out!
SUAA - State Universities Annuitants Association
SURS - State Universities Retirement System
Other Chapter Web Sites
Northern Illinois University
Western Illinois University
Illinois Central College
The TCAA welcomes all Triton retirees to join, as well as active employees who are within sight of retirement age. Dues are $46 per year.
The TCAA is just one chapter of many statewide chapters that are a part of the State University Annuitants Association (SUAA).
Click on the link below to see and print out the Membership Application.
To learn more about SUAA, click the SUAA item below, then from the resulting screen, scroll down and click on "SUAA Presentation".
SUAA (State University Annuitants Association)
SHOULD RETIREMENT INCOME BE TAXED? Click here to read the article.
EXPLANATION of NEW ILLINOIS BUDGET passed July, 2017
SUAA Mini Briefing 07-11-2017
This Mini Briefing is a compilation of the Budget Bills and an analysis of each. The information will be helpful as the Legislature moves forward. The Legislators are due to be called back to Springfield as there is still unfinished business. The following is a Facebook posting and also found on Representative Greg Harris’s website. This is the most comprehensive explanation of the Budget that SUAA has found: Balanced Budget Details GREG HARRIS·FRIDAY, JULY 7, 2017 Yesterday, the House overrode the total veto of the Governor and passed the first balanced budget for Illinois in 3 years. This was despite of the continual efforts of Gov. Rauner, his cronies and their dark money Super-PACs from trying to derail all progress in the House and Senate to reach agreement. The volume of misinformation and the hateful, often violent messaging has been breathtaking. I cannot express enough thanks to both the Democratic and Republican members of the Senate who took an early lead in moving this forward and to my Democratic and Republican colleagues in the House who put State before politics and party to get the job done. Here are details of what the balanced budget package contains:
- Cuts over $3 billion from current spending levels
- Pays down $8 billion of our backlog of old bills
- Closes tax loopholes
- Spends less than the Governor's introduced budget
- $1.4 billion in pension reform savings
- Same income tax rate as the Republican proposed tax increase (Yes. The same.)
- $350 million more for K-12 education, as well as $50 million increase for early childhood education
- Restores Research and Development Tax Credit and expands to the Manufacturing Equipment tax credit to attract new businesses and jobs to Illinois There are 3 bills in the budget package: SB6, the spending plan which can be seen here: Balanced Budget Spending Plan, the revenue package which can be seen here: Balanced Budget Revenue Plan, and the Budget Implementation Bill (BIMP) which can be seen here: BIMP Language Here are more details on some of the major items in each: Balanced Budget Plan
- $1 billion in savings from across the board budget reductions to state operations and bureaucracy
- $350 million increase for Elementary and Secondary Education as part of the Evidence Based Model of school funding reform
- $50 million increase for Early Childhood Education
- Increase in proration for Student Transportation to 84.6%
- Full funding for Bilingual Education
- $3.2 million increase for Agricultural Education
- $15 million increase to After School Programs
- $8.5 million increase to Soil and Water Conservation Districts
- $10 million increase to Cooperative Extension Services, County Fair and Agricultural Societies
- $19 million in Job Training Grants · Both State and Federal LIHEAP fully funded
- MAP grants increased by 10%
- Operations of colleges, universities and community colleges funded at 90% of FY15 levels
- Fully fund Community Care Program for seniors (CCP). No funding for Governor’s proposed CRP program
- $10 million increase in Meals on Wheels for Seniors
- Fully funds Medicaid
- Fully funds pension and group health
- Provides rate increases for disability, home service, senior services, mental health, substance abuse and SLF workers
- Restores childcare assistance to 185% of FPL and restores access to families enrolled in education or training programs cut by the Governor
- Fully funds Domestic Violence Shelters
- Increases funding for violence prevention, mental health, substance abuse, services for at-risk youth, after school programs and Ceasefire
- Restores Governor’s cuts to DD programs, Epilepsy Program, Autism Program, Teen Reach, Immigrant Integration and Welcoming Centers, Arc of Illinois, Homelessness Prevention and Homeless Youth services, Children’s Place, Youth Summer jobs and others
- Increases funding for HIV/AIDS and Breast and Cervical Cancer screening and treatment
- Funds the new Chicago Veteran’s Home Revenue Plan
- Individual Income Tax Rate of 4.95%, Corporate Tax Rate of 7%, the same rates as in the House/Senate GOP proposal
- Corporate Tax Loopholes closed: QPAI deduction, Combined Reporting, Outer Continental Shelf
- Means tests Education Expense Tax Credit, Property Tax Credit and Standard Exemption for high-income earners ($250,000 per year individual/$500,000 per year joint)
- Modernizes State Tax Lien Act and Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Tax Act to increase revenue
- Doubles Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to provide tax relief for low and moderate income families
- Increases the Education Tax Credit by 50%
- Adds a Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit
- Expands the Manufacturing, Machinery and Equipment Tax Credit to include graphic arts
- Creates a Classroom Supplies Tax Credit of up to $250 for teachers who use personal income to purchase classroom supplies BIMP Bill
- Increases the Personal Needs Allowance for developmentally disabled individuals to $60 per month
- Creates a Community Care Program Task Force to work with all stakeholders to develop recommendations on strategies to reduce costs and liabilities, modernize and increase efficiencies of the CCP program
- Authorizes direct deposit (instead of transfers) of tax receipts to Local Government Distributive, Public Transit and Downstate Public Transit funds · Provides the AMTRAK operating subsidy
- Authorizes $8 billion in payments for the backlog of old bills at the Comptroller’s Office
- $1.2 billion in interfund borrowing to be repaid within 24 months o $300 million in fund sweeps from a selection of funds o Provides up to $6 billion GO Bond authorization for back bill payment, to be repaid via a level principle method o Allows Drug Rebate Fund funds to be used for Medicaid payments o Anticipates $2 billion in Federal matching funds for Medicaid payments o This is in addition to over $800 million in existing cash in the Commitment to Human Services and Educational Assistance Funds which are appropriated in SB6 to pay back bills of social service agencies and higher education
- Authorizes MPEA to restructure its debt and pay back remaining deficiency payment to the State ($42 million) and a creates a reserve fund to protect against future shortfalls
- Implements several pension reforms to reduce costs and help stabilize several pension systems o Requires contributions from State Pensions Fund to SURS to be a portion of the certified contribution rather than in addition to them. o Authorizes GRF share of SERS to be appropriated directly o Implements a limited cost shift for high salary SURS/TRS employees whose salaries exceed that of the Governor.
- Requires recertification of the state systems to reflect Nov 1, 2017 changes o Includes the Chicago Municipal and Laborers Pension Reform proposal from SB14 o Provides clarifying language for Chicago Firefighters Fund regarding COLAs for members in or after 1955 through 1965
- Implements a Tier 3 defined benefit plan for Tier 2 members (if they elect) and future non-covered hires in SERS, SURS and TRS
- In FY18 only, allows Governor to reserve up to 5% in OSF amounts appropriated (does not include Common School Fund, General Revenue Common School Special Account, Educational Assistance Fund, Fund for the Advancement of Education, Commitment to Human Service Fund or Bond Stabilization Fund)
- In FY18 only, authorizes 4% transferability between operation lines for Executive Branch agencies (does not include other constitutional offices, legislative or judicial branches)
- Establishes a Maintenance of Effort (MOE) for Special Education in local school districts
- Extends FY17 lapse period by 1 month to allow agencies extra time to process FY17 vouchers
Tier III Hybrid Plan – SURS analysis
SB 42 creates the FY 2018 Budget Implementation Act for the purpose of making changes in state programs that are necessary to implement the state budget. It authorizes the use of money in the State Pensions Fund as part of the FY 2018 state contribution to SURS. It also makes the following changes to SURS:
Tier III Hybrid Plan
SB 42 creates a Tier III hybrid plan for new participants of SURS on or after the implementation date of the Tier III hybrid plan and current Tier II participants who irrevocably elect to participate in the Tier III hybrid plan. The Tier III hybrid plan does not apply to participants in the Self-Managed Plan. Individuals who first become participants of SURS on or after the implementation date of the Tier III hybrid plan (and who are not participants in the Self-Managed Plan) can irrevocably elect to participate in Tier II within 30 days after becoming a participant. The implementation date of the Tier III hybrid plan means the earliest date upon which the SURS Board of Trustees authorizes members of SURS to begin participating in the
Tier III hybrid plan. SURS must endeavor to make such participation available as soon as possible after the effective date of the legislation and must establish an implementation date by board resolution.
Stated differently, individuals who first become participants of SURS on or after the implementation date of the Tier III hybrid plan will have the option to participate in: the Tier III hybrid plan, the Tier II plan, or the Self-Managed Plan. Current Tier II participants will have the option to elect to participate in the Tier III hybrid plan.
For the defined benefit portion of the Tier III hybrid plan:
- Final average salary (FAS) equals the average monthly (or annual) salary during the period of service in which earnings were the highest during the last 120 months (or 10 years) of service.
- Pensionable earnings are capped at the federal Social Security Wage Base.
- Age and service credits for retirement are the normal Social Security retirement age applicable to that member, but no earlier than age 67, with 10 years of service credit.
- Retirement annuities are calculated using the following formula: 1.25 percent x each year of service credit x FAS.
- Automatic annual increases are applied beginning one year after retirement, calculated at ½ of the percentage increase in the CPI-W.
- Survivor benefits are equal to 66 2/3 percent of the member’s retirement annuity on the date of death, or 66 2/3 percent of the member’s earned annuity without an age reduction if the member was not retired on the date of death.
- Employee contributions are equal to the lower of 6.2 percent of salary or the normal cost of benefits under the defined benefit portion of the plan.
For the defined contribution portion of the Tier III hybrid plan:
- Employee contributions are equal to a minimum of 4 percent of salary.
- Employer contributions for employees with at least one year of service with the same employer are equal to a rate that may be set for individual employees, but no higher than 6 percent of salary and no lower than 2 percent of salary.
- The participant vests in employer contributions when they are paid into his or her account.
- The plan must provide a variety of investment options (including investments handled by the Illinois State Board of Investment) and a variety of options for payouts to retirees and their survivors.
State Funding Changes
SB 42 requires the state to make additional contributions to SURS in FY 2018, FY 2019 and FY 2020 equal to 2 percent of the total payroll of each employee who participates in the Tier III hybrid plan or who participates in the Tier II plan in lieu of the Tier III hybrid plan.
SB 42 requires any change in an actuarial assumption that increases or decreases the required state contribution and first applies in FY 2018 or thereafter to be implemented in equal annual amounts over a five-year period beginning in the state fiscal year in which the change first applies to the required state contribution.
SB 42 requires any change in an actuarial assumption that increases or decreases the required state contribution and first applied to the state contribution in FY 2014, FY 2015, FY 2016 or FY 2017 to be implemented as already applies in state fiscal years before 2018 and, in the portion of the five-year period beginning in the state fiscal year in which the actuarial change first applied that occurs in state fiscal year 2018 or thereafter, by calculating the change in equal annual amounts over that five-year period and then implementing it at the resulting annual rate in each of the remaining fiscal years in that five-year period.
SB 42 requires recertification of the amount of the required state contribution for FY 2018, based on the changes made by the legislation.
Employer Funding Changes
SB 42 requires each employer under SURS to contribute the following amounts:
- In FY 2018, FY 2019 and FY 2020, the normal cost of the defined benefit plan, minus the employee contribution, for each employee of the employer who participates in the Tier III hybrid plan or participates in the Tier II plan in lieu of the Tier III hybrid plan; or
- Beginning in FY 2021, the normal cost of the defined benefit plan, minus the employee contribution, plus 2 percent, for each employee of the employer who participates in the Tier III hybrid plan or participates in the Tier II plan in lieu of the Tier III hybrid plan; plus;
- Beginning in FY 2018, the amount for that fiscal year to amortize any unfunded actuarial accrued liability attributable to the defined benefits of the employer’s employees who first became participants on or after the implementation date of the Tier III hybrid plan and the employer’s employees who were previously Tier II participants but elected to participate in the Tier III hybrid plan, determined as a level percentage of payroll over a 30-year rolling amortization period.
Stated differently, beginning in FY 2018, the employer will be responsible for: (1) the employer normal cost of the defined benefits of Tier III hybrid plan participants and the employer normal cost of the defined benefits of participants who would have been in the Tier III hybrid plan but elected to participate in the Tier II plan; and (2) the unfunded liability of the defined benefits of Tier III hybrid plan participants, participants who would have been in the Tier III hybrid plan but elected to participate in the Tier II plan, and participants who currently participate in the Tier II plan but elect to participate in the Tier III hybrid plan. Additionally, beginning in FY 2021, the employer will pay a 2 percent surcharge for Tier III hybrid plan participants and participants who would have been in the Tier III hybrid plan but elected to participate in the Tier II plan.
SB 42 requires SURS to create and maintain individual employer accounts for this purpose.
SB 42 also requires the employer to pay the employer normal cost of the portion of an employee’s earnings that exceeds the amount of salary set for the governor, for academic years beginning on or after July 1, 2017.
SB 42 takes effect immediately upon becoming law.
Public Act 100-0023 (Effective July 6, 2017)
SB 6 appropriates $1,587,985,000 for the FY 2018 state contribution to SURS. Of this amount, $1,372,985,000 comes from the General Revenue Fund and $215,000,000 comes from the State Pensions Fund. The certified state contribution to SURS for FY 2018 is $1,753,685,000. (Please note: SB 42 requires recertification of the FY 2018 state contribution by November 1, 2017.) SB 6 also appropriates $4,133,336 for the FY 2018 state contribution to the College Insurance Program (CIP), which provides health insurance to community college retirees. This amount is equal to the certified contribution for FY 2018.
SB 6 takes effect immediately upon becoming law.
Status: Public Act 100-0021 (Effective July 6, 2017)
Public Act 100-0021 (Effective July 6, 2017)
HB 4045 is currently on Third Reading in the Senate. Third Reading Deadline Established as June 30, 2017.
This is the pension reform bill. It is possible that there will be a Senate Floor Amendment added to HB 4045 which could
- Create a Tier III Hybrid retirement plan for newly hired.
- Create a Tier I and Tier II Voluntary Defined Contribution Plan
- Create a Tier I Voluntary Accelerated Pension Benefit. A buyout equal to 70% of the present value of the person’s annuity.
At this time there has not been any coordination with Social Security for the implementation of a Tier III Hybrid Retirement Plan. In addition, there has not been an analysis of how much money the State would save by introducing the Hybrid Plan for Tier III.
The unknown savings is included in the BIMP Bill – SB 42.
SFA #1 would most likely include a cost shift to the employer which would eliminate the State’s responsibility for Tier III employees defined contribution/defined benefit plan.
Tier III employees have not been hired yet.
Springfield legislative developments. Click here for the May 20, 2017 Mini Briefing.
Senate Bill 11 - Pension Code Tier 1 Election. Click here for the Feb. 8, 2017 Mini Briefing.
Start of the 100th General Assembly. Click here for the Jan. 19th, 2017 Mini Briefing.
At the June, 2015, SUAA Meeting in Springfield, Triton's De DeGrado was named to a 2-year term as the Secretary to the Executive Committee.
For the SUAA web site, click this link.
The SUAA Presentation below will explain what SUAA is about, its purpose, its goals, and why you should join.
TCAA Executive Board (Left to Right): Ken Piwowar, Jens Nielsen,
Dan Segebarth, Michael Gong, Mary Jeans, Ann Sullivan,
Carol Bibly, Tom Bondi, Kevin Kennedy, Bob Anthony, Connie Allekian
Not in Picture: De DeGrado.
Frank "De" DeGrado
TCAA Director - Webmaster
Call to Action!
Click SUAA in this block to get to the links for the latest SUAA Mini Briefings.
SUAA has been diligent in providing continuing information about the upcoming legislation and urging the membership to contact their state Senators and Legislators to discuss the issues with them. One way to have questions answered is to contact your County Clerk at the county offices in which you reside. Below is some information about the five counties in which the majority of our membership resides:
Cook County: David D. Orr, County Clerk
69 West Washington, 5th Floor, Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60602
DuPage County: Robert T. Saar, Executive Director
DuPage County Election Commission
421 N. County Farm Road
Wheaton, IL 60187
Kane County: John A. Cunningham
719 S. Batavia Avenue
Geneva, IL 60134
Lake County: Willard R. Holander, Elections Department
18 N. County Street
Waukegan, IL 60085
Will County: Nancy Schultz Voots, County Clerk
302 N. Chicago Street
Joliet, IL 60432
A website that may provide some additional information which can be useful (www.elections.il.gov).
Updates from Members
In this section, we will feature updates from retired TCAA members.
Vern Magnesen, retired Triton Dean, submitted this tip on weight loss:
October 2013 update from James Wright, retired in 2008 from the Triton Social Science Dept:
We corresponded briefly last spring when I lamented not being able to attend the TCAA luncheon, having moved to Michigan. We're still here and have become entrenched, active in a new church and a number of environmental organizations.
We went to lobby day in Lansing sponsored by Sierra Club. We also spend a fair amount of time riding herd on grandchildren, one close by and two in River Falls Wisconsin where my middle son is a physician's assistant at Mayo Clinic and volunteer fire fighter.
Diana and I just returned from a three week tour of Europe, our fortieth anniversary gift to ourselves (well, no one else would give it to us), so the afterlife (that is life after Triton) is sweet and fulfilling. Needless to say I send best wishes to all my former colleagues!
Jim Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Additional note about James Wright. His first novel: Haunting Jane or the Imam's Curse is now available on Kindle.
Click on the link below for an update from John Boulet, who moved to southern Louisiana in November, 2011
If you would like to add an update on yourself for this section, please send it to email@example.com
A recent photo to go with it would also be great.