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Article updated: 6/18/2013 6:05 PM

Illinois Senate debates university pensions

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By Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- A pension reform proposal developed by a group of education experts has been debated in an Illinois senate committee.

The six-step plan was developed by officials from the University of Illinois and Northern Illinois University. Senate President John Cullerton supports it. Legislation sponsors say it achieves cost savings and is constitutionally sound. According to the plan debated Tuesday, the State University Retirement System would be fully funded by 2044. It gradually phases in employer funding of pensions, and phases in an increase in contributions for workers.

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Southern Illinois University President Glen Poshard says the plan could serve as a template for fixing problems in the state's other retirement system.

Illinois has the largest unfunded pension obligation of any state in the nation.

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