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WQAD.com

Pritzker approves plan to merge local pension funds

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed a measure that merges 650 local police and fire pension systems in an effort to boost investment returns and save money.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed a measure that merges 650 local police and fire pension systems in an effort to boost investment returns and save money.

Governor Pritzker signed the bill on Wednesday, December 18, about a month after the Senate approved the plan to create two statewide retirement programs for police employees and firefighters.

"Working together we are helping hundreds of cities all across the State of Illinois to alleviate their spiraling property tax burdens and showing Illinois can tackle its most intractable problems," said the governor.

"It will provide a little bit of breathing room for our local cities if they're getting a better investment return they won't have to contribute as much to make up any shortfalls that come," said State Representative Mike Halpin.

"That is where we're going to see it locally and not having our tax rates continuously go up because of pensions," said State Representative Tony McCombie.

The funds’ combined assets will be $15 billion. Pritzker says the investment power would increase returns by $800 million to $2.5 billion in the first five years and save local governments money on administrative costs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report