WBEZ | Illinois pension http://www.wbez.org/tags/illinois-pension Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois Republicans say pension reform is top prioirty in 2012 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-republicans-say-pension-reform-top-prioirty-2012-95521 <p><p>Illinois state Republican leaders say reforming the pension system must be a top priority in 2012. They're calling on Democrats to help fix the state's ailing system in the coming year.</p><p>Illinois is facing an $85 billion shortfall in eventual pension costs due to years of underfunding and the prolonged economic downturn.</p><p>Republican House Leader Tom Cross co-sponsored a pension reform bill with Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan last year, but Madigan has yet to call it for a vote.</p><p>Cross said the bipartisan support needed to approve the bill is not there yet.</p><p>"It's a very, very complicated issue and it's going to take both parties working together and be willing to make some very very tough choices," Cross told reporters Thursday.</p><p>That lack of action on pension reform was cited when Moody's downgraded Illinois' credit rating last week, making it the worst in the nation.</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has pledged that reforming the state's pension system would be one of his top priorities for the year.</p></p> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 23:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-republicans-say-pension-reform-top-prioirty-2012-95521 Quinn says fixing credit requires reform http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-says-fixing-credit-requires-reform-95443 <p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said the state must get its pension debt under control this year.</p><p>At a press conference Tuesday, Quinn said pension reform would be one of his top priorities for the legislative session that starts January 31st.</p><p>Last year, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) worked on a bill that would give state workers, teachers and other members of the state's pensions systems - except police and fire personnel - choices over how to fund their pensions going forward.</p><p>One of the options would require them to pay more toward their retirements, a concept that some in the legal community believe is unconstitutional.</p><p>But inaction toward pensions gave Moody's Investors Service a reason last week to downgrade the state's credit rating to the worst in the country. That means borrowing money will cost Illinois taxpayers more going forward.</p><p>"We don’t want that. We want to be on the upgrade," Quinn said.</p><p>Moody's cited the state’s pension debt as one reason for the downgrade, saying political leaders, “Took no steps to implement lasting solutions.”</p><p>Quinn wouldn’t explain exactly how he plans to fix the problem but he blamed 30 years of inaction by the General Assembly and former governors for the debt.</p><p>"Our time has come. Our rendezvous with pension reality will come this year," he said.</p><p>He has formed a working group to look at options and says he’ll explain more during his State of the State Address on Feb. 1.</p></p> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 10:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-says-fixing-credit-requires-reform-95443