Governor Pat Quinn has signed landmark legislation Thursday to reform Illinois’ massively-underfunded pension system, though the new law is certain to face threatened lawsuits by labor unions.
The overhaul, approved by the General Assembly this week after years of delay and inaction, cuts benefits for most employees and retirees. It has a June 1 effective date, but could be delayed by the legal challenges.
Quinn, who often signs new laws in celebratory public events, signed the pension bill Thursday afternoon in a private ceremony. It was a mark of how politically sensitive the issue is in Democrat-controlled Illinois, with hundreds of thousands of public employees and retirees across Illinois being negatively affected.
Illinois’ $100 billion shortfall in funding employee retirement benefits is considered the worst pension crisis in the nation.