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Illinois lawmakers are scrambling to close public pension loopholes, which they helped create, that allow union leaders to take advantage of the system, Statehouse News Online reports.
Some union leaders are receiving retirement benefits for time they spent leading the state's labor unions, the news agency reports. For example, one union president, who earned $60,000 as a teacher, is now collecting a pension based on his $242,000 salary while leading a teachers union.
An investigation by Statehouse News Online's Illinois bureau revealed 125 union and non-profit leaders are eligible for such benefits, and sixty are collecting those pensions. The union leadership has said it is currently reviewing the legislation.
State Sen. Matt Murphy, a Republican who is pushing for pension reform, told the news agency he hopes Democrats will understand the need to reform a broken system that has cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"My hope is that my friends on the other side of the aisle will recognize the need to address, not only a fairness issue with this, but also the cynicism from taxpayers toward their government for even allowing this type of insider deal," Murphy told Statehouse News Online.