The Illinois General Assembly approved sweeping cuts to state employee pensions Tuesday. The move comes after years of stalemate over how to address a hundred-billion dollar liability — the worst-funded pension plans of any state.
Illinois legislators were supposed to meet this week for three days as part of the fall veto session; instead they left Springfield after only two.
Little was accomplished during that time. Despite competing rallies, the Illinois House did not vote on legalizing same-sex marriage, whether state agencies, including the state police, will receive additional money remains unsettled, and there was no action on Illinois' pensions, which are the worst-funded in the nation.
It can give the impression that legislators are not doing their jobs.
A state pension overhaul backed by government employee unions may save only half of what advocates had promised. That underscores an ongoing battle between the House and Senate over pensions, with only ten days left in the legislative session.
There's general agreement on this much: that Illinois' public pension systems have $100 billion dollars in unfunded liabilities. That's a fancy word that basically means "debt."
It's a big number that's getting Illinois in trouble with bond houses and eating into the state's budget.