GOP candidates for governor weigh in on pension proposal

Dec 2, 2013

The Republican candidates for governor are split on the pension overhaul legislators are scheduled to vote on Tuesday. In a statement, wealthy businessman Bruce Rauner denounced it as not going far enough to cut the state's costs. He wrote that a vote for the measure "is a vote for a future tax increase." He also says it was negotiated behind closed doors, with not enough time for the public to review it. 

But in his own statement, Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington wrote that the package is the result of months of negotiations. Brady called the plan's cuts to state employees' and retirees' pensions "meaningful" and says he WILL vote for it. 

Senator Kirk Dillard says he is undecided. On Sunday, Dillard said he had only seen bullet points about what all the package would do. He says he won't make up his mind until he can read the actual legislation. Nonetheless, he says he has concerns it is unconstitutional.

"So I have questions that need to be answered, as do many of my colleagues.  And the bill doesn't become effective for awhile. And I believe that the Senate should have a two day committee of the whole."

The fourth Republican running for governor, Treasurer Dan Rutherford, has remained silent about his opinion on the deal.  Neither his campaign nor his state spokeswoman responded Sunday to requests for comment. 

Illinois' politically-powerful public employees' unions are fighting the measure.  They say they'll sue if it becomes law. 

The measure reduces Illinois' costs by cutting pension benefits and increasing the retirement age for teachers, state university employees and government workers.