Gov. Quinn wants cuts to Ill. pension plan

April 21, 2012 at 7:32 PM

CHICAGO, April 21 (UPI) -- Gov. Pat Quinn's plan to fix Illinois' underfunded pension system is "illegal," the head of the state AFL-CIO said.

Quinn, a Democrat, introduced his plan Friday at a news conference in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported. Employee contributions would increase and the retirement age would be raised to 67 and cost-of-living adjustments cut.

"I didn't create the problem," Quinn said. "But I'm here to solve it. I know that I was put on Earth to get this done."

AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said unions are willing to work with the governor on solving the pension crisis. But he said Quinn's proposals, which he called "unfair and unconstitutional," will make that harder.

"It is a clearly illegal attempt to solve the problem caused by past governors and the Legislature solely on the backs of teachers, caregivers and other public workers," Carrigan said.

Illinois' pension system has an $80 billion shortfall. Quinn says under even the most optimistic scenario it would be only 90 percent funded by 2045, while his plan would ensure the system is fully funded by 2042.

Reaction was generally positive from everyone except unions, including legislators on both sides of the aisle. Republicans did criticize one part of the plan that would shift costs for school employee pensions to local districts.

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