Most Illinois House members recently backed a measure to limit the salary on which public employees’ retirement benefits could be based. One of a few proposals to address the state’s $96 billion pension shortfall, it was seen as a test vote as lawmakers grapple with some way to make good on years of the legislature failing to make its payments.
The Illinois Senate has moved forward with a pair of measures (SB 1 and SB 35) that would strip government workers of some of their pension benefits. The changes would impact state and university employees, as well as downstate and suburban public school teachers.
Union leaders met with Governor Pat Quinn and members of the legislature on February 11 to talk about the state's underfunded pension system. They billed it as a chance to work together on a divisive issue but the two sides remain far apart.
The unions represent a range of government workers, from prison guards to teachers. After the meeting, they issued a statement saying it shows they can "work together constructively with all parties."