Political storm of pension reforms looms over Springfield

By WEEK Producer

September 1, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 4:02 AM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The political storm of pension reform continues to loom over Springfield.

In the last couple weeks, national credit agencies upped the pressure on Illinois lawmakers, taking hits at the state's credit ratings.

The main sticking point concerning pension reform so far, whether to shift pension costs onto the backs of local governing bodies, mainly school districts.

Local lawmakers say they are working to find a balance between addressing problems quickly and carefully.

"There are right ways of doing it, and there are wrong ways of doing it. For the sake of the taxpayers and for the sake of the people that depend on those pensions, we have to do this right. We have one chance to really make a big impact," said Democratic State Senator Dave Koehler of the 46th District.

"Every single time we have one of these downgrades, we lose more tools. We lose more tools that we're able to do to help fix this thing, so we have to do something sooner rather than later, and we need real leadership right now," Republican State Representative Mike Unes of the 91st District.

These downgrades come weeks after Governor Pat Quinn called lawmakers to Springfield for a special one-day pension session which produced no results.

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