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State

Ill. Senate leader still working on pension deal

Madigan proposes Illinois pension changes

SPRINGFIELD – A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton says he will keep working to pass a pension reform bill he believes can survive a court challenge.

Rikeesha Phelon said Cullerton and fellow Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan have "the same goal but different approaches" to solving Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

Madigan filed his pension plan Tuesday. It caps the salary on which a pension can be based at $110,000 and limits annual cost-of-living increases.

Madigan's legislation also removes language from a plan backed by Cullerton that got Senate approval last month. Cullerton's plan offers affected state-government employees and teachers a choice of benefits instead of unilaterally cutting them.

Cullerton believes the state must give retirees a choice in benefits in order for the legislation to be considered constitutional.

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