Pension Vote Possible Monday

Jan 7, 2013

Credit State of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers could move forward with a plan to address the state's pension woes. A House committee is expected to consider a proposal when it meets on Monday. The expected vote comes after a Sunday meeting of the Illinois House that accomplished little. But legislators still say they can still tackle the state's pension problem before the General Assembly adjourns for good on Wednesday.

With days left in the legislative session, there's still no concrete resolution for the state's nearly $100 billion of pension debt. But some key lawmakers still have hope, including Democratic Representative Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook

"There is enough time to get it done.  There are bills that are positioned in such a way that we could get them out of committee, get them voted on in the House and in the Senate, before Tuesday evening" Nekrtiz said.

The House measure would require state employees, teachers and university workers to put 2 percent more of their paychecks into their retirement plans. Workers wouldn't get yearly benefit increases until they're 67, and current retirees would have to go six years without those cost-of-living bumps.

Nekritz admits that unions are not on board. And even if the House advances the plan, it could be setup for failure in the Senate, where  the President prefers a different method of bringing down the state's pension costs.

House Speaker Mike Madigan says differences are to be expected.

"I think the key consideration is how can we get this done.  I don't think we should get hung up on details.  I think we ought to be focused on getting something done" Madigan said.

The Speaker says he's bargaining in good faith, and is optimistic a plan will pass.