State News
6:43 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Details on state pension proposal

Teachers, state employees and retired government workers are staging last-ditch efforts to persuade legislators before a major pension vote Tuesday. 

 Darlene Edwards logged 20 years with Illinois' public health department.

 "I did investigation work for various disease situations, and I went into nursing homes where they do care of the elderly and disabled."

 Now 85, Edwards - who lives in Springfield - says she's getting a pension of $390 a month.

 "I would like to speak to anybody that can comfortably live today on $390 a month pension."

 Edwards' pension would not go down under the legislation before the General Assembly.  But the annual increases to her pension would be reduced.  Edwards says she depends on those cost-of-living adjustments for just that -- to keep up with the rising cost of medicine, gas and other needs. 

Those sorts of arguments may sway some legislators to vote against the package.  But there are also critics who say Illinois needs to reap greater savings by making deeper benefit cuts. 

With pressure coming from both sides, it's unclear if legislative leaders can get enough of their members to back the proposal.