Ill. Legislature OKs fix for $100B pension crisis

The Illinois Legislature has approved a historic plan to eliminate the state's $100 billion pension shortfall, considered the worst in the nation.

The House voted 62-53 Tuesday in favor of the plan, which the Senate approved just minutes earlier. It now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has said he will sign it.

Lawmakers in the two Democrat-controlled chambers took up the plan after years of inaction on a problem that other states have addressed.

It has damaged Illinois' credit rating and diverted key funds from schools and social service agencies.

Legislative leaders say the plan will save the state $160 billion over 30 years by cutting retirement benefits for hundreds of thousands of workers and retirees.

Labor unions oppose the measure and say they plan to file a lawsuit arguing it's unconstitutional.

Rep. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, approved the measure.

Rep. Noreen Hammond, R-Macomb, and Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, voted no.

Sullivan issued a news release that stated "the proposal has a drastic and negative impact on both current and retired employees and has serious constitutional issues."