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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Plan To Fix Illinois Pension Crisis Faces Vote

Illinois lawmakers are convening in the state capitol for what could be a historic vote to finally close the gap on the state's $100 billion public pension shortfall. (Terry Farmer photography)

Illinois lawmakers are convening in the state capitol for what could be a historic vote to finally close the gap on the state’s $100 billion public pension shortfall. (Terry Farmer photography)

Illinois lawmakers are convening in the state capitol for what could be a historic vote to finally close the gap on the state’s $100 billion public pension shortfall, which is considered the nation’s worst.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, with Senate President John Cullerton looking on at left, speaks to reporters after a meeting with Gov. Pat Quinn in Chicago to discuss the state's pension crisis, June 10, 2013. (M. Spencer Green/AP)

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, with Senate President John Cullerton looking on at left, speaks to reporters after a meeting with Gov. Pat Quinn in Chicago to discuss the state’s pension crisis, June 10, 2013. (M. Spencer Green/AP)

On the table is a proposed plan, unveiled last week by Democratic and Republican leaders of both the House and Senate, that they say would save the state $160 billion over 30 years by trimming retirement benefits.

Union officials say it would unfairly hurt retirees who were promised the money and worked hard to earn it. Some Republicans say it doesn’t go far enough and would not solve the crisis.

Both the House and Senate are expected to vote on the proposal Tuesday, after years of debate and inaction on the issue. Gov. Pat Quinn, who has championed pension reform, says he supports the latest measure. If it passes, unions are expected to quickly challenge the plan’s constitutionality.

Guest

  • David Schaper, national desk reporter for NPR, based in Chicago.

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