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Illinois Legislative Leaders Claim to Have Pension Deal

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    House Minority Leader Jim Durkin said the deal was made during a Wednesday morning meeting, hopefully setting the stage for a solution to Illinois' roughly $100 billion pension crisis.

    Four Illinois legislative leaders claim to have struck a tentative pension reform deal for the debt-laden state.

    House Minority Leader Jim Durkin said the deal was made during a Wednesday morning meeting, hopefully setting the stage for a solution to Illinois' roughly $100 billion pension crisis.

    The details of the deal were not released, but House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office says it includes changes to the cost of living adjustment and retirement age, along with extra state contributions and a state funding guarantee.

    It is expected to save taxpayers an estimated $160 billion over the next 30 years.

    Gov. Pat Quinn commended Senate President John Cullerton, Madigan, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin in a statement but said "we have more work to do."

    "I look forward to working with the leaders and members of the General Assembly over the coming days to get this job done for the people of Illinois,” Quinn said.

    The governor tried suspending lawmakers pay this year after they failed to submit a solution for pension reform. The pay freeze was later lifted by a judge.

    The announcement comes after Madigan sent an email to state representatives earlier this month asking them to be prepared for a vote on the looming pension crisis on Dec. 3.

    Madigan said he was hopeful for action on pensions before the end of the year. 

    He said legislative leaders were waiting for actuaries to crunch numbers on some proposals they're considering. Once they have the information he hopes lawmakers can return to Springfield and approve a bill.

    Illinois has one of the worst unfunded pension obligations in the world.