Illinois lawmakers are returning to Springfield with instructions to work on the state's massive pension problem, although there's no sign that a breakthrough is on the horizon. Democratic legislative leaders are concentrating on a proposal that would address only part of the problem. Republicans reject that as insufficient, but they also reject a more comprehensive version that gradually shifts some pension costs to schools. Governor Pat Quinn called for Friday's special session. He says it can be successful if everyone is willing to compromise. State pension systems are roughly $85 billion short of the money they'll eventually need to pay out. Closing that gap costs huge amounts each year, so officials want to cut costs by reducing retirement benefits.
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