Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, argues pension legislation while on the Senate floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol Thursday, May 9, 2013 in Springfield Ill.
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says the state's $97 billion pension shortfall isn't as dire as some people are describing.
The Chicago Democrat told WGN Radio that the pension shortfall is not an imminent crisis, but that finding a solution can help keep Illinois' income taxes down.
Cullerton made the remarks as lawmakers head back to Springfield to begin their fall veto session Tuesday. They face considerable pressure to deal with the pension problem, considered the nation's worst. But a bipartisan committee working on reform is split over a plan that saves $138 billion over 30 years.
Cullerton says the state has been putting more money into its pension systems in recent years under a 1996 law. He says he wants to lower the annual amount the state pays in.