BLOOMINGTON-Yesterday we told you about a Chicago meeting on pension reform that ended in a deadlock.
The biggest dispute is over whether to make downstate and suburban Chicago schools take over the cost of employee pensions. Illinois pays those expenses now.
Illinois senate president John Cullerton, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross want to pass measures where there's already broad agreement and keep negotiating the others.
But Governor Pat Quinn says he wants a complete overhaul, and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan says any pension reform should address the schools issue.
Representative Tom Cross was in the Twin Cities today, and we caught up with him for his input on the issue.
"We had a good meeting in the sense that there's an acknowledgement that there's recognition that we have a huge problem. We have 85 billion dollars in unfunded liability. one of the questions we're focusing on is how do we provide some accountability for school districts so they're not abusing the system and giving huge raises at the end of careers that put a real strain on our pension. But the reality is we got to fix this we got to do it now and hopefully we'll get it done here this summer if not sooner," said Tom Cross.
Lawmakers were close to agreement last week, but were derailed shortly before the end of the legislative session. The top decision makers will meet again later this month.