Illinois dragging its feet on huge pension problem

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Associated Press

Posted on December 30, 2012 at 9:34 AM

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois is a state with a reputation for political wheeling and dealing. And now it is dragging its feet on a deal to solve its biggest crisis in a generation.

The state's pension funds are the most underfunded in the country, with a shortfall approaching $100 billion.

Lawmakers will convene again next week in hopes of fixing the problem.

On the table are solutions other states adopted as long as five years ago. They include higher retirement ages, asking workers to contribute more and switching to 401(k)-style plans.

Critics blame Illinois' situation on procrastination, budget gimmicks and using state employees' retirement funds as a veritable credit card.

It's a problem decades in the making, through nearly a dozen Republican and Democratic governors and legislatures controlled by both parties.

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