House Committee OKs Madigan Pension Plan

May 01, 2013

An Illinois House committee is endorsing a plan by Speaker Michael Madigan to tackle a Goliath-sized public-employee pension deficit. The Personnel and Pensions Committee OK'd the Chicago Democrat's plan 9-1 Wednesday.

It moves to the floor for a vote but needs Senate approval too.

The plan calls for higher pension contributions by employees and limits on how much in pension benefits retirees may collect.

Employee union officials complained the proposal violates a constitutional prohibition on reducing benefits.

Senate President John Cullerton thinks employees should get a choice of increased cost-of-living increases or subsidized retirement health care.

Decades of underfunding by state officials have left the five pension systems $97 billion short of what they need to cover all current and retired employees.

Gov. Pat Quinn issued a statement after the measure passed committee. 

"I commend the nine members of the House Committee who today voted to address the biggest challenge facing our state," he said.  "Illinois' economy will not fully recover until the General Assembly passes this comprehensive pension reform and sends the bill to my desk."

Story source: AP