Fri January 4, 2013
Ill. Pension Negotiations Continue
Negotiations for a complete overhaul of Illinois' underfunded pension systems continue. But the president of the state Senate is again pushing a measure his chamber approved months ago.
Governor Pat Quinn has been adamant that something pass before the General Assembly's current session ends for good on Wednesday.
In May, the Senate passed legislation that reduces state workers' and legislators' own retirement benefits. But the House never took it up. Senate President John Cullerton says representatives should do so when they return to Springfield on Sunday.
"We would urge them to pass the same bill we did," said Cullerton. "It's a major pension reform. It'll send the right signals to those folks who rate us at the state level. It will save almost a billion dollars, a little over a billion dollars, a year for the next 30 years."
The measure before the House leaves out any changes to teachers' and state university employees' pensions.
Cullerton says he's committed to fixing those systems too, just later.
The Senate passed minor changes to the measure it approved in May. Otherwise, deadlines in the plan would be outdated.
Under the measure, if state employees want to keep their current pension package, they would lose access to state-backed healthcare upon retirement.
Gov. Quinn and legislative leaders are expected to meet over the weekend.