No agreement reached in pension reform

June 7, 2012 (CHICAGO)

State lawmakers left a meeting with Gov. Pat Quinn Wednesday without reaching an agreement on how to close the state's $83 billion funding gap.

The biggest dispute is over whether to make downstate and suburban Chicago schools cover more of the cost of their employee pensions.

Republican leaders fear a "cost shift" will lead to property tax increases to cover the added expense.

"We have to eliminate the free lunch for local school districts," House Speaker Mike Madigan said. "Tthe community colleges have already agreed to do it and that's how we should move forward."

Legislative leaders have agreed to meet again later this month.

If lawmakers fail to reach a compromise, the state's bond rating could be downgraded.

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