The state comptroller says the pension problem should be called a “crisis.” Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said the state’s $97 billion pension shortfall isn’t as dire as many politicians claim. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka disagrees, saying if it’s not a “crisis,” why is it eating up so much of the budget? “We have to get something done, because this is going to be the only game in town if we’re playing pensions,” Topinka said.
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Topinka said she’s disappointed that no solution came while the legislature was in session last week. She’s hopeful that a report from the pension reform conference committee will come this week, but offers no guarantees. Topinka supports the current proposal being discussed by the committee that could reportedly save the state $138 billion over the next 30 years, but warned that any solution must be “fair” to public sector employees, who she says “have done everything right.”