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Illinois Passes Historic Pension Reform

Both the Illinois House and Senate narrowly passed a measure that addresses Illinois' out of control pension problems, spreading out the pain.

Credit: File photo
Credit: File photo
By Pam DeFiglio

After years of dithering, Illinois senators and representatives took a momentous step forward Tuesday in solving the $100 billion pension problem that has bedeviled the state, its finances, and its credit rating.

The state Senate passed the measure 30-24, and the House passed it 62-53, the Chicago Tribune reports--all in one afternoon.

The deal will save $160 billion over 30 years, and reduce the state's payments for pensions by about $1.5 billion a year, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. 

It does so by curtailing cost-of-living increases for pensioners, who include suburban teachers and retired state workers. It also raises retirement ages for younger workers. 

For that reason, several sources said, labor unions may mount a legal challenge to it. 

Illinois' pension crisis is considered the worst in the nation,reports chicago.cbslocal.com, because for years lawmakers diverted money elsewhere and did not make full payments into the funds. 

How local representatives voted:

  • Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego): No
  • Rep. Larry Walsh Jr. (D-Joliet): Yes
  • Rep. Emily McAsey (D-Lockport): Yes
  • Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet): Yes
  • Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora): No
  • Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood): No
See how other Representatives voted here.
Click here for the Senate roll call.

Rebecca December 03, 2013 at 07:32 PM
So good to know that retirement will not be possible. I am shocked that Ton Cross voted no and Larry Walsh voted yes. I would have expected that to be the other way around.
Jess Acosta December 03, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Why is it called a "pension problem" when the problem was lawmakers not doing what they said they would do by not funding the pensions they agreed to?
Nick Novia December 03, 2013 at 08:17 PM
It is a terrible situation our representatives in government have created. They knew they would never have to adhere to their promises, and their actions proved it by not funding correctly. Now, the elected have their pensions, but the workers, well, their futures are not really important...because the politicians don't give a crap. We MUST have term limits. The whole ideal of running for re-election, and becoming a career politician is ruining the democracy.
Kathy rios December 03, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Perhaps now we can get to the business of picking up the peices of our broken state. I'm sorry the government workers aren't gonna get their promised income but other than the politicians opening up their pockets there is no other way. Because who else wants to pay the bill?
Jim W December 03, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Thank you Tom Cross and Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.
Bill Thoman December 03, 2013 at 09:34 PM
The problem with this legislation is that it blatantly violates Article XIII Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution and as such not much of anything will have been accomplished.....which is our General Assembly's SOP. Did they fix their own retirement plan of being able to retire with more than their actual salary? Also, on the same day they passed this horrific blunder of a bill they passed tax cuts to big corporations!!! Unfricking believable! Goodbye middle class!
Vicky Polito December 03, 2013 at 10:37 PM
My guess is that the reps who voted "no" did it mostly because of the constitutional conflict Bill Thoman mentions, above. Odds are high this is just bad theater and will not amount at all to a solution so supporting it is politically cute, but pointless.
Stephen Knickrehm December 04, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Maybe they could have used the $72 plus million they dedicated for the Peotone airport to help fix the Pension Fund!

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