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State

Mayors' group pushes for Illinois pension reform

CHICAGO (AP) — Mayors from across Illinois are set to hold a news conference, hoping to encourage state lawmakers to make changes to pension systems for local police and fire departments.

The group is meeting Monday. They say pension problems are "choking local government budgets." And they warn some communities will have to raise property taxes or cut essential services to cover pension obligations. Those essential service cuts could include laying off police officers and firefighters.

The effort comes as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel waits for the governor to sign legislation overhauling two city pension funds.

Emanuel's plan reduces a $9 billion shortfall in funds covering 57,000 current and retired municipal workers and laborers. It cuts benefits and increases city and employee contributions to the accounts. It also raises property taxes.

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