Illinois Governor: Pension Reform a ‘Crying Need for Our State’
Pat Quinn is the Democratic Governor of Illinois. His state currently has $83 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and no plan for dealing with them. Monday, Gov. Quinn called for a special legislative session to 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 Senate would require workers to contribute more to their own retirement or lose their health insurance. However, that plan, if approved by the Assembly, would only close about one third of the funding gap.
Governor Quinn's plan, which is favored by Democrats, is to force local school districts to take over pension costs from the state. This would likely result in higher property taxes for suburban residents. The city of Chicago already 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 Watch reports, it seems unlikely the two sides will be able to reach an agreement during a one day special session in the midst of an election year.