The state treasurer is zeroing in on the moving parts in the pension debate. Treasurer Dan Rutherford says he disagrees with the House speaker, who has called for votes on pension restructuring one issue at a time. He says all considerations – the retirement age, the employee contribution, the cost of living adjustment, the cost of retiree health care – should be on the table at the same time, and a deal negotiated.
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Rutherford says he think all of these measures will be necessary to fix the problem, and he can support a package that includes any of these ideas as long as it fixes the problem. And he says workers have a reason to give some ground. “What’s gonna be good for that teacher of today to have a system available tomorrow won’t happen because the teacher pension system last year finally had to start selling assets to make payments,” he said. “How long do you think that’s gonna be sustainable?”
Rutherford says he’d like to get this issue resolved soon, because he’s planning on running for governor, and he’d like to have the problem out of the way if he’s elected. Rutherford spoke Monday at the City Club of Chicago. The state has an unfunded pension liability of $95 billion, and it will continue to eat away at the state’s ability to pay for anything else until it is brought under control.