Politicians, public employee unions and others spent the last several years focused on pensions. Illinois racked up a $100 billion unfunded liability -- largely because lawmakers didn't pay the state's share of its workers retirement benefits.
Eric Madiar is the top attorney for the Illinois Senate President. He found a report that said Illinois' pension systems were on the "verge of insolvency" in 1917.
"...and it stemmed primarily from the fact had not been properly been financing pensions." --- Eric Madiar, Senate Democrats' Chief Legal Counsel
Legislators passed a law overhauling the state's retirement systems. Soaring pension debt remains a concern. The law's constitutionality is also in question. It reduces workers' and retirees' benefits, and raises the retirement age.
Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz has issued a temporary restraining order that prevents Illinois' pension reform law from being implemented until questions about the law's constitutionality and a suit challenging it can be resolved. The law was scheduled to take effect June 1.
Five lawsuits by groups representing state workers and retirees challenging the law have been consolidated in Sangamon County court.
It's a temporary victory for government employees who say the law is unconstitutional.
Illinois lawmakers and Governor Pat Quinn remain at a standstill over a pension overhaul plan. Legislative leaders sued the Governor last week after he blocked lawmaker paychecks because of inaction on the state's growing pension obligations.
A member of the Illinois General Assembly's special pension committee says the group is waiting for what he hopes will be the final round of budget analysis.
The pension conference committee is trying to find a way to reduce Illinois roughly $100 billion in unfunded future pension liabilities. The group comprises 10 senators and representatives, both Democrats and Republicans.
State Sen. Bill Brady is a Republican from Bloomington. He says there has been a lot of compromise.
Illinois lawmakers will not be getting their monthly paycheck, starting next week. At least one financial institution is offering to help tide them over until the General Assembly's dispute with the Governor is resolved. Lawmakers' base salary of $68,000 has been set to zero - Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed their pay out of the budget as a sort of punishment for the General Assembly not passing a pension overhaul.