GOP Lawmakers Pitch New Plan to Trim Illinois Pension Debt

(AP) Republican lawmakers are pitching a new idea they say would make a small dent in Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation pension debt. Rep. Mark Batinick wants the Illinois House to hold hearings on a plan to offer employees nearing retirement a lump sum payment for a portion of their pension benefits, rather than an annuity. Batinick said Thursday the “exchange option” won’t solve Illinois’ $111 billion pension crisis. But he says it would “move it in the right direction.” The Illinois Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that 2013 legislation that cut public-employee pension benefits was unconstitutional.