House committee OKs Madigan pension plan

May 1, 2013

The Associated Press

File: Illinois Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Michael Madigan. His pension plan made it through committee Wednesday.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An Illinois House committee is endorsing a plan by Speaker Michael Madigan to tackle a Goliath-sized public-employee pension deficit.

The Personnel and Pensions Committee OK'd the Chicago Democrat's plan 9-1 Wednesday. It moves to the floor for a vote but needs Senate approval too.

The plan calls for higher pension contributions by employees and limits on how much in pension benefits retirees may collect.

Employee union officials complained the proposal violates a constitutional prohibition on reducing benefits.

Senate President John Cullerton thinks employees should get a choice of increased cost-of-living increases or subsidized retirement health care.

Decades of underfunding by state officials have left the five pension systems $97 billion short of what they need to cover all current and retired employees.