Negotiations for a complete overhaul of Illinois' underfunded pension systems continue, but the president of the state Senate continues to push for a measure his chamber approved in May, when the Senate passed legislation that reduces state workers' and legislators' own retirement benefits. But the House never took it up. Senate President John Cullerton says representatives should do so when they return to Springfield on Sunday:
"We would urge them to pass the same bill we did. It's a major pension reform. It'll send the rights signals to those folks who rate us at the state level. It will save almost a billion dollars, a little over a billion dollars a year for the next 30 years."
The measure before the House leaves out any changes to teacher and state university employees pensions. Cullerton says he's committed to fixing those systems too, just later. The Senate passed minor changes to the measure it approved in May. Otherwise, deadlines in the plan would be outdated. Under the measure, if state employees want to keep their current pension package, they would lose access to state-backed healthcare upon retirement. Governor Pat Quinn has been adamant that SOMETHING pass before the General Assembly's current session ends for good Wednesday. He and legislative leaders are expected to meet over the weekend.
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