Illinois’ legislative leaders met Tuesday to try to put the finishing touches on a pension restructuring plan. The Illinois House is scheduled to meet next Tuesday, so Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) wants to get it done. “The situation is very fluid. However, my fear is that if we do nothing, soon Illinois will be downgraded again and again. Not acceptable,” he said.
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State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook), the House Democrats’ point person on pensions, says she’s hoping. “Frankly, something has to be done, and I’ve always been hopeful that this time would actually be it. I try not to get my hopes up too much because I’ve been let down a lot over the last 12 months as well, but I’m always hopeful,” she said.
The lawmakers involved say the discussion includes nothing new with respect to retirement age, cost-of-living-adjustments, employee contributions and the guaranteed state contribution, just tweaking of the numbers. The legislative leaders are still ironing out disagreements on what to bring to Springfield, and they may not have a finished product until Monday or Tuesday of next week. The Senate has not been officially called into session as yet.
The state is dealing with an unfunded pension liability of $100 billion.