Quinn signs pension reform bill into law

Governor Quinn signed the pension reform bill into law at a private ceremony this afternoon.

“Illinois is moving forward,” Governor Quinn said in a statement. “This is a serious solution to address the most dire fiscal challenge of our time.”

State lawmakers passed the major overhaul to pension legislation in a history-making vote at the state capitol on Tuesday.

The worst-funded pension system in the nation, $100 billion dollars in the hole has been dragging down the state economy.

The new law, which takes effect June 1, will increase the retirement age for younger workers, scale back the annual cost-of-living increases for most retirees and establish a 401(k)-styled option for a limited number of workers. It would also skip some annual retiree increases, depending on when they retire.

The new law also requires workers to pay 1 percentage point less from their paychecks toward the retirement system. It includes protections for some of the longest-serving, lowest-paid workers who get the smallest retirement checks, allowing them to collect the current level of benefits until they hit certain levels.

Quinn says the bill will save the retirement system for government workers and help grow the economy. But the unions representing state workers have another word for: Robbery.

-Chicago Tribune contributed to this report

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