Illinois lawmakers are gearing up to start another spring session that will include more attempts to address an issue that has remained stubbornly elusive so far.
What can the state do to rein in the cost of public employee pensions and try to address the $129 billion debt faced by the five state-funded pension systems?
A number of ideas are floating around the General Assembly, from an idea to issue billions of dollars in bonds to pay off the existing debt at a lower interest rate, to an idea that would give some employees a cash incentive to accept smaller future increases in their retirement benefits after they retire.
As always, lawmakers will have to consider any changes with an eye to what the courts will find acceptable, given the pension protection clause in the state Constitution. There’s also the fact this is an election year when the Executive Mansion is at stake along with dozens of legislative races.