Lawmakers approves major overhaul of the state pension system

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Governor Quinn plans to sign pension reform legislation passed today by state lawmakers.

The bill is designed to wipe out a worst-in-the nation, $100 billion dollar pension debt.

Savings comes from reducing cost-of-living increases and raising the retirement age.

Employee unions plan to sue calling the breach of promises unconstitutional.

Gov Quinn released a statement saying, “Today, we have won. The people of Illinois have won. This bill will ensure retirement security for those who have faithfully contributed to the pension systems, end the squeeze on critical education and healthcare services, and support economic growth.

Capture“I applaud House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno for their leadership and good-faith negotiations. I thank Senator Kwame Raoul and members of the conference committee for their hard work over the past six months.

“I salute the members of the General Assembly who showed great political courage by voting yes for pension reform.”

Sen Kirk Dillard voted “no” on today’s vote.  He said, “I hesitate to free-up billions of additional dollars that they can use to further expand entitlement programs or subsidize more pet projects.”

Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford said in a statement, “The will of the General Assembly is the adoption of current pension reform legislation,” said State Treasurer Dan Rutherford.  “Litigation is inevitable, and I hope that the courts issue an expedited ruling as to the constitutionality of the legislation. The sooner the better, so we can move our great state forward.”

Also opposing the ruling, Senator Toi Hutchinson released a statement saying, “As a lawmaker, I have the responsibility of proposing just and constitutionally sound legislation. I do not believe this proposed law fulfils this responsibility. If this issue were simply about saving money, a bill would have already been passed. But this legislation deals with people’s very livelihoods, the retirement benefits of thousands of hard-working Illinoisans, and I cannot support a law that fails to take this truth into account.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement saying, “Now state workers will have the certainty that pensions they paid into and are counting on will be there for them when they retire, and taxpayers can feel confident that they won`t have to shoulder the burden alone.”

Emanuel also says the works is not finished, and lawmakers need to bring relief to Chicago and other local governments.

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