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Wisconsin Gov. Walker Appears In Chicago With Advice On Pension Reform

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was in Chicago on Monday, with some advice on pension reform.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Terry Keshner reports, a recent Pew Center study says the pension system in Wisconsin is the only one to be 100 percent funded. By comparison, the Illinois pension system is 45 percent funded – the lowest in the nation.

Speaking at the Commercial Club of Chicago Monday, Walker said having public employees contributed to their pensions is just one of the keys to the solvency of the Wisconsin system.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Terry Keshner reports

“Looking to get out of a point where you’re less than 50 percent funded to start aggressively working your way back to the system where you’re closer to 100 percent probably requires a number of changes like that,” he said.

Wisconsin has a pay-as-you-go mentality and that the pension has the same concept that you might find in a private 401K type system.

Walker also noted that Wisconsin’s system does not have guaranteed cost of living adjustments. He says he’ll leave it up to Illinois leaders to decide what’s best for their state but believes it will require a combination of things to get the state pension system back on solid standing.

But Walker did say that if he were Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, he would probably like to have others applying pressure for changes in the state’s pension system.

Walker also said he wants Illinois to do well as part of a strong Midwest economy which can be a player in the global economy.

“We’re interested not in taking companies, but rather in working with companies that are looking to grow in other parts around the country and around the globe, and making the case that Wisconsin is a good place to do business in as well,” Walker said.