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Comparing Two Chambers' Pension Plans
State lawmakers called it quits early today with no clear direction as to how they plan to tackle the most underfunded pension system in the country.
Senate President John Cullerton passed his union-backed pension reform bill Thursday. It offers around $46 billion in savings over 30 years. But House Speaker Michael Madigan is standing firm behind his proposal, which has no union support but estimated savings of $140 billion over 30 years.
Cullerton has touted his belief that his bill is constitutional because it's based on employees choosing between benefit reductions instead of unilaterally reducing benefits like Madigan's bill.
The unions have agreed not to sue if Cullerton's bill becomes law, but lawsuits are likely for either one, and the Illinois Supreme Court justices are the only ones that can say for sure if either bill is constitutional.
"We'll all have our theories, we'll all have our opinions," Rep. Tom Cross (R - Plainfield) said. "But you can find opinions on both sides. The reality is let's get a good bill done, signed by the governor, in all likelihood it'll be contested, and we'll have some--we'll finally get an answer through the court, but we've got to get something to them. And we ought to get the bill that does the most."
Passing one bill means getting it through both chambers, so that means either Cullerton or Madigan will have to call the other's bill.
We asked House Minority Leader Tom Cross which one he thinks will blink first. He said his sense is that Madigan has decided it's either his bill or the highway, and it's likely Madigan will not call the Senate version for a vote.
As for Gov. Pat Quinn, he said he thinks Madigan's bill deserves to be called in the Senate.