Governor amps up pressure to overhaul pensions
CHICAGO – Gov. Pat Quinn amped up the pressure on lawmakers to overhaul Illinois’ pension systems and warned on Sunday of massive future budget cuts for school districts as a consequence.
The Chicago Democrat supports a plan to make suburban Chicago and downstate school districts pay their own retirement costs, which the state currently pays; Chicago pays its own pension costs. But Republicans have largely objected to the shifting plan, claiming that it will burden cash-strapped local schools and increase property taxes.
Quinn has called an Aug. 17 special session for lawmakers to deal with pensions, saying the job can be accomplished in one day from existing legislation that’s pending. On Sunday, his budget office released figures claiming that Illinois’ unfunded pension liability is increasing so fast – $12.6 million a day – that it’ll cost school districts more in the long run because lawmakers will have to slash education funding to pay increasing retirement costs.
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