John CullertonThe leading Senate Democrat in the General Assembly says there is an agreement on pension reform that could save taxpayers $1 billion a year after all.


Last week Governor Bruce Rauner came out with a pension reform plan he said jived with Senate President John Cullerton’s idea to give employees choices between a reduced cost of living increase if raises are included in pensions or not including raises in pension and allowing for the 3 percent compounded cost of living allocation.


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However, Cullerton took exception to the governor’s push to remove salary increases from collective bargaining.


Monday, after speaking to the City Club of Chicago, Cullerton said when the governor announced the plan the two didn’t have the language worked out.


“So I think when he explained the bill,” Cullerton said, “he kind of went past what I thought was in the bill. It was a misunderstanding, I would say.”


However Cullerton said he believes there is an agreement with language being worked out by lawyers.  


“The questions going to be,” Cullerton said, “How do we pass it?”


Cullerton said he will work with his Republican counterpart in the Senate to get support for the proposal but he fully expects unions to oppose the plan.


It’s been more than 7 months since the Illinois Supreme Court struck down a previous pension reform proposal and since then the amount Illinois taxpayers owe in unfunded liabilities has grown nearly $2 billion to nearly $113 billion across the five state employee pension funds.


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