Pension bill on hold despite Rauner, Cullerton agreement

CHICAGO (AP) — Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner wants lawmakers to address Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation pension crisis “right away.” But despite a rare agreement between Rauner and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton, it’s unlikely a bill will advance anytime soon. Cullerton says it’s tougher than usual to pass a pension bill this year. That’s because of upcoming elections, union opposition, an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that declared a previous law unconstitutional and the ongoing state budget saga. Cullerton says a pension bill could be part of a broader deal between Rauner and majority Democrats on a budget and other issues. That’s likely to take months. Rauner’s spokesman said Monday there’s “no good policy reason to delay.” He says the Legislature could be “putting politics ahead of good policy.” Illinois’ unfunded pension liability is $111 billion.