December 30, 2012 – Illinois, a state with a reputation for political wheeling and dealing, backroom handshakes and 11th-hour bargains, is dragging its feet on the one deal needed to solve its biggest crisis in a generation. Lawmakers will convene again the first week in January in hopes of fixing the nation’s worst case of underfunding state employees’ pensions, a problem approaching $100 billion and mounting by $17 million per day. On the table are solutions that other states adopted as long as five years ago. Critics blame Illinois’ situation on procrastination, budgetary “gimmicks”, frequent raids on state-employee retirement funds to pay for other state expenses, and an unwillingness to take on the unions.
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