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updated: 4/20/2011 9:50 PM

Union questions Ill. treasurer pension comments

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- A major state employee union objects to the Illinois treasurer opening the door to making workers contribute more money to their pensions.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said Wednesday that increasing worker costs would violate the Illinois Constitution, which bars cutting pension benefits for current employees.

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Treasurer Dan Rutherford says he'd like to see Illinois create two pension systems for employees. One would be a 401(k)-style investment plan, while the other would provide guaranteed monthly checks.

One way to make employees join the investment option would be to raise the cost of the current system. The Republican treasurer didn't call for that, but his office says he's open to the idea.

Illinois pension systems have a gap of $79 billion between assets and long-term costs.

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