Doubts linger on pension solution; Senate updating proposal

(AP) — Some Illinois lawmakers are skeptical the Legislature can pass a new pension overhaul this spring despite pressure from Gov. Bruce Rauner and major credit rating agencies.

Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz is chairwoman of the House pension committee, which is holding a hearing Wednesday. She calls the odds of a deal before the session ends May 31 “slim.”

The Illinois Supreme Court last week ruled a 2013 pension overhaul unconstitutional.

Rauner wants legislators to approve a proposal to let workers keep benefits earned to date but move them to a less-generous plan going forward. He also wants a constitutional amendment to allow future benefits to be cut.

Senate President John Cullerton says he’s updating his proposal to overhaul Illinois’ pension system after the Illinois Supreme Court ruled a 2013 law unconstitutional.

The Chicago Democrat could offer state workers a choice between keeping annual cost-of-living increases in retirement or counting future pay raises when calculating their retirement benefits.

Spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon says Cullerton plans to meet with Rauner on Wednesday to figure out a plan on the pensions.