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Illinois governor urges picks for pension panel

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is urging legislative leaders to name lawmakers to a group set up to reform the state's ailing pension system.

Quinn's letter to leaders of the House and Senate says he wants the panel to start working with a top aide on his staff to craft fixes for a system of retirement benefits for state workers that's underfunded by $85 billion.

The letter says it is "critical that we work together this spring" to make the changes.

Lawmakers and Quinn have already made significant changes to pensions. One major change increased the retirement age for new employees and capped the amount retirees can earn.

A spokesman says House Speaker Michael Madigan has already told Quinn's office that Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook will represent House Democrats.

Moody's Investors Service recently cited the state's difficulty with managing its pension system as a reason for a downgrade in the state's credit rating.