Illinois Senate Rejects House Pension Reform Bill - NBC Chicago
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Illinois Senate Rejects House Pension Reform Bill

Gov. Pat Quinn prefers House bill, saying Senate version "needs improvement"



    UPDATE: Lawmakers Fail to Reach Pension Deal

    The Illinois Senate has rejected a plan pushed by the House to solve the state's pension crisis.

    The proposal pushed by House Speaker Michael Madigan -- SB1 -- failed Thursday evening, with 16 voting "yes" and 42 voting "no." The vote left lawmakers without a solution to the pension issue with only one day left before the Legislature's scheduled adjournment.

    "The people of Illinois were let down tonight," reacted Gov. Pat Quinn, urging senators to reconsider their vote. "Failure to send me a comprehensive pension reform bill hurts our economy and costs Illinois taxpayers $17 million a day."

    The House-backed plan would cut benefits and increase contributions for employees to help cut a $97 billion debt in five pension systems.

    But Senate Democrats prefer a plan by Senate President John Cullerton which offers employees a choice of benefits to forgo. He says that plan would survive a court challenge. Additionally, a published report, out Thursday, indicates the Senate bill would save $26B in health care costs.

    Gov. Pat Quinn has expressed support for the House plan. He said Cullerton's bill "needs improvement" but hasn't elaborated.

    When the House passed their bill earlier this month, former White House Chief of Staff and potential candidate for governor Bill Daley called it a "serious attempt" by Madigan to "solve a problem that is choking the economic future of this state."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.