Illinois Senate Committee Approves Union-Backed Pension Plan

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- A Senate committee has approved a union-backed approach for addressing Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

The Senate Executive Committee voted 10-5 Wednesday to send the proposal to the Senate floor. It could get a floor vote Thursday.

The measure gives workers and retirees a choice of benefit packages. For example, workers who want to receive 3 percent cost-of-living increases compounded annually wouldn't get health insurance.

Senate President John Cullerton says the plan was drafted in collaboration with public-employee unions and would survive a court challenge.

But not all beneficiaries are on board. Bob Pinkerton is vice president of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association. He says the bill is unconstitutional and his organization could sue the state if the legislation is passed.

Critics say the bill doesn't save enough money.

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