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Below are the latest stories on the pension issue in Illinois.

Ten Months Into Stalemate, Republican Leaders Make Social Services Offer

Amanda Vinicky
NPR | Illinois Public Radio
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno Thursday unveiled a proposal to fund social services; Republicans have thus far blocked that spending until Democrats adhere to Gov. Bruce Rauner's agenda.

Republicans are making an offer to get money to social services agencies that have gone three-quarters of the year without any state funding.

Illinois' political stalemate has caused crises all over the state, says Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno.

"The one that is near and dear to my heart given that I'm a social worker, and one that I think a lot of people have been feeling for a long time, is in the area of human services," she said. Radogno's introduced a plan that would spend $1.3 billion on mental health medicine, addiction treatment, supportive housing and sexual assault services.

"In keeping with the theme, though, that we've been espousing, that we have to pay for things we're spending" the measure is attached to an empty bill they want to fill by working with Democrats to enact pension savings plans.

Like, a controversial one that Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton have agreed to, using a "consideration" model to reduce state employees' retirement benefits. It won't generate savings for years, and Cullerton has said he doesn't have the votes to pass it right now.

Other ideas Republicans want to that would reap more immediate savings, by pushing a portion of the most expensive pensions from the state, and onto schools and universities. Rauner has pressed for having employers', versus the state, take on the pension costs on salaries about $180,000, and having school districts pay for pension increases due to end-of-year salary bumps given to teachers and administrators.

The Democratic House Speaker's spokesman expressed skepticism, giving court rulings that have nixed previous pension plans. Democrats favor a broader spending proposal, which they may advance next week.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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