Pension reform passes: Quinn vows to sign, Opponents vow to sue

State lawmakers passed major pension reform legislation in a history-making vote at the state capitol today.  One that’s almost certain to wind up in the Illinois Supreme Court.

It passed by the narrowest of margins.  The bill needed 30 votes in the Senate. It got exactly 30.

The State House voted minutes later. 60 votes were needed and pension reform got 62.

“I want to thank all those who had the political courage to vote yes today. It’s been a long journey. We’ve been working hard on this,” Gov Quinn said.

Quinn says the bill will save the retirement system for government workers and help grow the economy.

It’s a victory for the governor as he seeks re-election next year. The worst-funded pension system in the nation, $100 billion dollars in the hole has been dragging down the state economy. As political liabilities go, it would be about as big as they get.

But what the administration calls pension reform, the unions representing state workers have another word for: Robbery.

“This is like theft in the middle of the night, someone breaking into your house,” said Dan Montgomery of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.  These are protected benefits under the state constitution.”

At the end of the day, the bill that passed cuts cost of living increases for state workers, makes some retire later, and offers a 401(k)-like option.

The Governor says as soon as the bill hits his desk, he’ll sign it.

State worker unions say as soon

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