Illinois’ unfunded pension burden has grown to $96 billion, up from the previous projection of $86 billion, according to the Chicago Sun Times
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who is trying to build public support for stalled pension-reform efforts, confirmed at a rare Sunday news conference that the pension projection is the worst in the nation. By using the Internet and social media, the Sun Times reported that Quinn hopes to build enough grassroots support to get something done as quickly as possible.
According to Abdon Pallasch, Quinn's assistant budget director, the state's liability is growing because the teachers retirement system, the largest pension plan administered by the state, has decreased the rate of return expected on investments.
At his news conference, the governor told reporters, “We will get this done,” adding that he sees pension reform as “the most urgent issue of our time, certainly of our decade.”
But teacher and other state employee union leaders, who supported Quinn’s election in 2010, appear ready to oppose him on pension reform efforts. Responding to his news conference, they called his pension proposal to bring costs under control “a phony plan posing as reform.”
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