Illinois lawmakers may have passed an overhaul of the state's pensions, but that doesn't mean they can count on the projected savings. Backers of the pension law say it will save $160 billion. Granted, that's stretched over the next 30 years. But considering that pension costs had grown to eat up about a fifth of the state budget, the savings the state will get from cutting worker and teacher retirement benefits will begin to ease some major budget pressure. It's Governor Pat Quinn's job to introduce a spending plan for the state. After the pension measure's passage, House Speaker Michael Madigan said Quinn should not factor in those savings:
"No, no he should not. My view is that we're not going to spend this money until the Court tells us the money is there to spend."
Two lawsuits have been filed so far seeking to get the pension law struck down as unconstitutional and more are expected. If Quinn does follow Madigan's advice, that'll mean he'll have to introduce more budget cuts, or at least bare-bones spending, even as he seeks re-election.
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