Illinois Governor: Pension Reform a 'Crying Need for Our State'

Illinois Governor: Pension Reform a 'Crying Need for Our State'

Pat Quinn is the Democratic Governor of Illinois. His state currentlyhas $83 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and no plan for dealingwith them. Monday, Gov. Quinn called for a special legislative sessionto address pensions, saying, “This is a crying need of our state. We must act.”

Illinois’ pension problem is growing by$12.6 million dollars a day. A bill which has passed the State Senatewould require workers to contribute more to their own retirement or losetheir health insurance. However, that plan, if approved by theAssembly, would only close about one third of the funding gap.

Governor Quinn’s plan, which is favored by Democrats, is to force local school districtsto take over pension costs from the state. This would likely result inhigher property taxes for suburban residents. The city of Chicagoalready covers its own pensions.

Another option on the table is to cut cost of living increases to retired employees. While that would not solve the problem, it would delay the emergency. This is the option favored by Republicans. As CBS Money Watchreports, it seems unlikely the two sides will be able to reach anagreement during a one day special session in the midst of an electionyear.