A retiring state lawmaker says his goal for spring’s legislative session, which began Tuesday is the same goal he’s had for years: help fix the state budget. State Sen. Larry Bomke (R-Springfield) says addressing pension and Medicaid backlogs should be front and center this session. A pending House measure proposes a three-tiered pension system to cut costs, but many in the Senate, including Bomke, say it’s unconstitutional.
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“I happen to believe that is the case,” he says. “The constitution is very clear: you can’t change benefits for current employees. You can enhance them but you can’t reduce them.” Proponents of the House plan contend employees have a choice, and won’t see diminished benefits if they choose to pay more. Either way, Bomke doesn’t think there will be meaningful pension discussions until the fall veto session – part of which falls after 2012’s general election.