Pension reform deal passes committee, heads for full vote

By WEEK Producer

May 1, 2013 Updated May 1, 2013 at 9:42 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill -- The Pension Reform package handed out Tuesday by Illinois Speaker Mike Madigan was approved by a House committee Wednesday.

That proposal from Madigan reduces COLA adjustments to pensions, hikes the retirement age of state workers, and puts a cap on the wages that pension benefits are based on. An early Madigan proposal which would have downstate school systems directly paying teacher pensions was eliminated.

Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar says critics who blame his administration for creating a "ramp" which hiked state payments to the pension system have got it wrong.

"What we hoped in '94 when we put us on a track, we'd stay on it. But we got off it." former governor Jim Edgar said. "We have to make sure, whatever we do, it's permanent. It's not something that three years down the road, they've got something else they want to spend money on and they get off it."

The Pension reform bill heads for the full House Thursday. Labor leaders have called the proposal "unconstitutional."