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Expert: Cullerton, Madigan Can’t Afford To Back Down In Pension Crisis

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Illinois State Capitol

Illinois State Capitol buillding in Springfield (AP Photo)

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(CBS) – It’s a big week in Springfield, with lawmakers preparing for a special session on pension reform this Wednesday. It’s likely to be a tense day, with two of the state’s most powerful legislators trying to protect their reputations, reports WBBM’s John Waelti.

At issue are two different versions of pension reform, one from Senate President John Cullerton and the other proposed by powerful House Speaker Mike Madigan.

“it is a police conflict. It is also about individual power,” said Kent Redfield, political science professor at the University of Illinois in Springfield.

Redfield says that at a time when Cullerton is trying to solidify his power in the Senate, he can ill afford to back down from the pension stare down, but neither can Speaker Madigan.

“Clearly that goes against the Madigan mystique and in terms of his ability to get he wants. Right now, both sides seem to have great resolve in terms of sticking their position,” said Redfield.

But ultimately, it is the taxpayers that pay with the state’s unfunded pension obligation growing by an estimated $17 million every day.

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