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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Rep. Nekritz expects pension reform will be post-election

Rep Elaine Nekritz.JPG
State Rep. Elaine Nekritz

Illinois State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, doesn’t expect lawmakers to act on pension reform until after the Nov. 6 general election, though Gov. Pat Quinn said they should be ready to return to Springfield this summer to work on the contentious issue.

A member of the governor’s pension reform committee, Nekritz told the Daily Herald editorial board “it’s not ideal” to delay the issue until after the election.

“I feel that on May 30, we were so close to having a real piece of legislation,” she added, “and so, if it gets done in a lame-duck session ... it will get done because it’s the right thing to get done.”

Quinn and top legislative leaders are researching the potential impact of shifting pension costs to universities and school districts. They plan to meet again in August to try to hash out an agreement on pensions. On Monday, the governor warned lawmakers to be ready to return to Springfield.

“Summertime is a good time to act, and so the legislators have to be on their toes here that this is a matter that is confounding our state for decades, and it must be resolved, now,” he remarked during an appearance at Soldier Field.

Lawmakers also are considering cutting back pensioners’ cost of living increases, raising the retirement age and increasing employee contributions, making it a difficult vote in the months immediately preceding the election.

Nekritz pointed out no matter when a pension deal is reached, it’s unlikely to take effect before July 1, 2013, because heads of the state’s retirement systems have urged lawmakers to stick to the fiscal year.