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Governor Defends Pension Bill From Criticism

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Governor Defends Pension Bill From Criticism

WBEZ/file

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is brushing aside criticisms of pension overhaul legislation he says is historic.

Quinn says he wants to wait until his staff conducts an “expeditious” review of the pension bill, but he plans to sign it.

QUINN: It’ll be pretty quick.

The legislation is strongly opposed by unions representing public employees. That’s because it cuts benefits and raises the retirement age for many hired starting next year. Though Quinn insists the bill won’t deter young people from applying.

QUINN: They would take that job. They would be very happy to have that job.

The legislature’s research commission estimates the bill will save more than $119-billion over the next 35 years.

That’s not enough according to the budget watchdog Civic Federation, which wants the overhaul to also apply to current workers - something Quinn insists is unconstitutional.

QUINN: It’d be a field day for a lot of lawyers with three piece suits, but the people of Illinois can’t operate on that basis.

The Pew Center on the States recently rated Illinois’ pensions the worst-funded in the country.

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