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Senate committee OKs 2 pension overhaul plans

SPRINGFIELD – An Illinois Senate committee has advanced two similar proposals to address Illinois’ worst-in-nation pension problem.

One plan sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss replicates part of a previous plan that delays cost-of-living increases, pushes back the retirement age for some and calls for more employee contributions. The Senate Executive Committee approved it Wednesday 11-4.

The other sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton echoes the plan. But it contains a backup plan if deemed unconstitutional. The plan combines provisions from a Senate-approved measure along with increased contributions and some reduced benefits. Gov. Pat Quinn supports it. The committee approved it 11-3.

The votes send both plans to the Senate floor.

Opponents claim neither is constitutional and some say Cullerton’s doesn’t save enough money.

Illinois has nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension debt.

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