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updated: 4/9/2014 5:57 PM

Stable Chicago pensions 'many years away,' Fitch says

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Associated Press

A major credit rating agency says an overhaul of two Chicago pension plans would prevent them from becoming insolvent, but long-term sustainability is "many years away."

Fitch Ratings issued a statement Wednesday on the legislation approved Tuesday by the Illinois legislature.

The measure would eliminate most of a $9.4 billion shortfall in the funds covering 57,000 current and retired municipal workers and laborers. It cuts benefits and requires employees and the city to contribute more to the retirement accounts.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants a $750 million property tax increase over five years to cover the increased contributions.

Gov. Pat Quinn hasn't said whether he'll sign the measure

Fitch notes Illinois has strong constitutional protections for pension benefits, and any changes will likely face a lengthy court battle.

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