From AP - News Local/State -

Ill. Senate Rejects House Pension Reform Bill

The Illinois Senate has rejected a plan pushed by the House to solve the state's pension crisis.

The proposal pushed by House Speaker Michael Madigan failed Thursday evening, with 16 voting "yes'' and 42 voting "no.''

The vote left lawmakers without a solution to the pension issue with only one day left before the Legislature's scheduled adjournment.

The House-backed plan would cut benefits and increase contributions for employees to help cut a $97 billion debt in five pension systems.

But Senate Democrats prefer a plan by Senate President John Cullerton which offers employees a choice of benefits to forgo. He says that plan would survive a court challenge.

Among East Central Illinois senators, only Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) approved the measure.

Gov. Pat Quinn issued a statement, saying the people of Illinois have been let down.

“Every lawmaker in the capitol knows what needs to be done," he said.  "Senate Bill 1 is comprehensive public pension reform. It has already passed the House of Representatives and it should pass the Senate, too.  Failure to send me a comprehensive pension reform bill hurts our economy and costs Illinois taxpayers $17 million a day."

Quinn is urging the Senate to reconsider the vote. The legislative session is scheduled to end Friday.

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