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updated: 1/7/2013 2:02 PM

Illinois House committee takes up pension issue

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- A House committee has begun considering a plan to solve Illinois' pension crisis by freezing cost-of-living increases for retirees and asking employees to contribute more.

Sen. Elaine Nekritz is the bill's sponsor. She says it may not be perfect but will help keep Illinois from falling back into a "deep pension abyss."

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Gov. Pat Quinn and House Minority Leader Tom Cross both back the proposal.

It wouldn't award annual cost-of-living increases until the age of 67 and would increase employee contributions by 2 percent of salary, spread over two years. Once cost-of-living increases took effect at 67, they'd be applied only to the first $25,000 of a retiree's pension.

It would require the state to fully fund its portion of pensions under threat of legal action by the accounts' administrators.

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