Pension reform still up in the air in Springfield

By WEEK Producer

November 5, 2013 Updated Nov 5, 2013 at 12:03 AM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Going into their veto session Tuesday, members of the Illinois General Assembly got what could be considered good news.

Illinois no longer has a 200 billion dollar pension debt. It's only 173 billion dollars.

That's not because of anything the General Assembly did.

The pension funds are earning more on their investments than was expected.

Moody's figures the state's pension debt differently than other rating agencies, who figure Illinois's pension debt is about 100 billion dollars.

So far the pension reform committee has not come up with a bill to pay for the 100 billion dollar unfunded retirement program. Members of the committee are reportedly split over a savings plan.

A spokesman for Speaker Michael Madigan is quoted as saying that 'if a reform plan can be agreed upon, Madigan could call the House for a vote before January'.

"We have waited for this a long time and going into our next budget cycle looking at the numbers without pension reform we're going to have a devastating budget year. My hope is that we can bring some finality to this issue," said St. Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth/(D) 92nd Dist.

"There's been some proposals I agreed with some that I haven't. The bottom line is what is going to be brought to the floor and at the end of the day what the Speaker is going to be allowed to be voted on," said St. Rep. Mike Unes/(R) 91st Dist..

Same Sex marriage, tax incentives for businesses and tougher gun penalties are issues state legislators could consider this week.

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