The top Republican in the Illinois House and the Democrats' chief pension-reform negotiator are teaming up for another run at the state's retirement-fund crisis. Minority Leader Tom Cross and Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz proposed a new fix Wednesday they say would reduce the debt by $30 billion and eventually move the state away from funding teacher and university professor pensions. It's the latest twist on a problem that has bedeviled lawmakers for more than a year. Decades of state underfunding has left Illinois' five pension accounts $96 billion short of what they need to cover all workers. The new wrinkle would make future public school and university employees enter a system that includes a 401(k)-style plan and negotiated contributions by the local employer.
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