Illinois pension fight likely shifting to courts

SARA BURNETT Associated Press Published:

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- The fight over how to address Illinois' worst-in-the-nation pension shortfall is likely to move to the courts following passage of a landmark bill.

The Illinois Legislature approved a measure Tuesday to eliminate the state's $100 billion unfunded pension liability by cutting benefits for workers and retirees. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign it promptly.

Public employee unions say they'll file a lawsuit if the Chicago Democrat signs it. They say it violates a provision of the state constitution that prohibits cutting pension benefits.

Quinn says the bill is necessary for the state's economic good. He says he thinks the court will "see it that way."

Senate President John Cullerton says it will be an important test case.

The bill is estimated to save $160 billion over 30 years.