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Pension Reform Takes Center Stage In Springfield

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The clock is ticking for Illinois lawmakers to come to an agreement on the pension crisis.

On Monday, the proposal now on the table will take center stage in a House committee, which will consider a plan that calls for more employee contributions and freezing cost-of-living increases for retirees.

The plan is an attempt to fix the state’s nearly $97 billion dollar pension debt, CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman reports.

The bill, already has the backing of Gov. Quinn and House Minority Leader Tom Cross. The General Assemby’s lame duck session ends on Wednesday.

The current proposal is designed to withhold annual cost of living increases for retirees until 67, and would increase employee contributions by 2 percent of their salary.

The bill would also require the state to fully fund its portion of pensions.

The CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute says a better solution would be to switch state employees over to a 401k plan.

John Tillman said converting to a 401k program would “shift control of retirement from the government and the elected officials to workers, the state workers, the local municipal workers. Everybody that works for government should control their own destiny.

“It’s the politicians that have bankrupted the system that put us in this crisis in the first place.”

Because time is running out in the lame duck session, state lawmakers dropped hot-button issues on Sunday dealing with a ban on assault rilfes and legalizing medical marijuana.

Also still on the agenda–a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses.

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