Civic Committee: Illinois pension system 'unfixable'

November 14, 2012

The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  — A business group says the Illinois pension system is "unfixable" and that even current retirees' benefits will have to be cut to keep it from bankruptcy.

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago told members Wednesday in a memo -- shown to The Associated Press in advance -- that keeping the state's five pension systems from collapsing will require drastic action.

That includes eliminating annual cost-of-living increases, capping the salaries that pensions are based on and more.

Committee president Tyrone Fahner told the AP that current state employees and teachers will never see the benefits promised them. The systems are underfunded by at least $85 billion.

The committee hopes to light a fire under a stalemated Legislature. Fahner says lawmakers' ideas for reducing benefits are "half measures."