The Illinois General Assembly has approved sweeping changes to pensions for state employees and Governor Pat Quinn said he will sign the legislation.
Illinois is roughly $100 billion short of the money it promised to pay state employees, university workers, and public school teachers.
After years of debate, lawmakers finally agreed on a solution to the problem: cutting benefits, mainly by reducing the three-percent annual increase retirees have gotten on their pensions.
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) was unusually forceful in kicking off nearly three hours of debate on Tuesday.
“This is not a one-sided bill. There will be changes here. Much needed changes. But this bill is a well-thought out, well-balanced bill,” Madigan said.
Labor unions disagree, calling it a "dark day" for police, teachers, and other government workers. They say they'll challenge the legislation in court.
The Illinois Constitution says government pensions cannot be diminished.