Some pension reform is already in effect in Illinois. In 2010, lawmakers enacted new pension terms for workers hired starting in 2011 – a later retirement age, a cap on how large a pension one can get, and an end to compounded cost-of-living adjustments. Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) says this will benefit the state to the tune of $71 billion between 2011 and 2045.
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“So it was a very significant piece of legislation which we were able to pass, obviously over the objections of the unions who are affected by it,” he said. What’s holding up restructuring for current employees and retirees is that their benefits cannot be unilaterally reduced, so lawmakers are struggling to find a legal way to keep benefits from growing.