Republican Hopefuls Split On Pension Overhaul

Dec 3, 2013

Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, says the Senate should gather all of its members, and spend a couple of days hearing from experts, as well as from state workers whose pensions would be affected by pension changes.

The four Republicans running for Illinois governor are taking diverging stances on the pension measure that's bringing the General Assembly back to Springfield tomorrow. The package drafted by the legislative leaders would cut state workers', teachers' and university employees' retirement benefits.

Whether there's enough support for the leaders' plan to pass is uncertain, but it will get Sen. Bill Brady's vote.

Brady - a Republican from Bloomington who's running for governor again after narrowly losing to Pat Quinn in 2010, says Illinois can't kick the can down the road anymore. Brady says it will free up $160 billion dollars over the next 30 years that Illinois needs to spend on other demands.

The other sitting legislator running for governor isn't willing to sign onto the deal yet.

Senator Kirk Dillard says he won't decide until he's seen the actual legislation, rather than just an outline of what it'd do.

"I'm waiting to read the actual pension legislative language, not a word of mouth explanation from a legislative leader. Nancy Pelosi got the Congress to pass Obamacare that way and folks are now starting to see the disastrous details," he said. "You better read the actual language first, and not just rely on dot points."

The swiftness with which the plan has gained traction -- leaders just announced they'd reached a deal last Wednesday -- is one of the many reasons multi-millionaire businessman Bruce Rauner has given for objecting to it.

In a statement, Rauner blasted the package as an insider deal with insufficient savings to the state.

Where the fourth, and final, Republican, running for the GOP's nomination stands is unclear.

Treasurer Dan Rutherford has yet to issue a statement, and neither his campaign nor his government office responded to requests for comment.