State News
7:18 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Lawmakers convene Tuesday to vote on pension measure

Legislative leaders are continuing to try and drum up votes for their plan to chip away at the state's 100 billion dollars of long-term pension debt. The General Assembly will convene tomorrow to vote on a measure that reduces state workers' retirement benefits. 

How to knock down Illinois' pension costs is an issue that has evaded lawmakers for years. But a plan that has been around for only days is seen as landmark. Because it has bipartisan support from the four highest-ranking legislators, it's seen as having a greater possibility of passing than previous measures.  And Gov. Pat Quinn has signaled he's on board too. 

"I think we need to work very hard at securing a majority of members of the House and Senate. They were elected and I respect their elections, and I want to work with them on Tues to get the votes with their leaders, so we can get this bill on my desk, and we can move on and do other great things for the people of Illinois."

Getting that done could still prove tricky.  There are deep policy divides.  And political ones.  

Unions are organizing massive push-back. They say it's unconstitutional to cut pensions state employees and retirees worked to earn. Temporarily, labor has an unlikely ally. Some big players in the financial industry are fighting the plan too, but because because they say it doesn't cut benefits enough.