House Committee OK's Madigan Pension Plan

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- An Illinois House committee is endorsing a plan by Speaker Michael Madigan to tackle a Goliath-sized public-employee pension deficit.

The Personnel and Pensions Committee OK'd the Chicago Democrat's plan 9-1 Wednesday. It moves to the floor for a vote but needs Senate approval too.

The plan calls for higher pension contributions by employees and limits on how much in pension benefits retirees may collect.

Employee union officials complained the proposal violates a constitutional prohibition on reducing benefits.

Senate President John Cullerton thinks employees should get a choice of increased cost-of-living increases or subsidized retirement health care.

Decades of underfunding by state officials have left the five pension systems $97 billion short of what they need to cover all current and retired employees.

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