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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - With the fight over solving Illinois' worst-in-the-nation pension shortfall moving to the courts, the state faces a grim possibility: The plan could be tossed, and Illinois could wind up in an even deeper fiscal hole.

Lawmakers approved a bill Tuesday that they say eliminates the $100 billion unfunded pension liability, largely by cutting benefits.

Labor unions say it's unconstitutional and plan to sue once Gov. Pat Quinn signs it.

Court rulings on similar cases elsewhere have varied.

A bankruptcy judge in Detroit said Tuesday that city pensions can be cut.

But in Arizona a court said asking employees to contribute more to their retirement was illegal and made the state repay workers, with interest.

Experts say that could happen in Illinois, which has some of the country's stronger pension protections.

 

Pair of Michigan men charged for trying to steal a Rolex

Wednesday, 04 December 2013 15:51 Published in Local News

A pair of men from the Detroit area facing charges for allegedly robbing a jewelry store on Tuesday.

Police say Stefan Douglas and Treymane Kinsey tried to steal a Rolex from a Clarkson Jewelers in Ellisville. When the men tried to run out of the store, a sales clerk caught one of the the suspects. There was an altercation in the parking lot and during the confusion, the store owner pulled out a gun and shot at the suspects.

After a short chase, the suspects crashed near Chesterfield mall. Now the men face charges of robbery in the second degree.

Stakes now even higher for Detroit retirees

Wednesday, 04 December 2013 15:33 Published in National News

DETROIT (AP) - Some experts believe the time is right for serious talks aimed at solving a pension shortfall in Detroit's bankruptcy case.

Judge Steven Rhodes said Tuesday that pensions can be cut as part of an overall plan to bring Detroit out of bankruptcy.  It's a blow to more than 20,000 retirees who argue that the Michigan Constitution offers complete protection.

Most city pensioners get less than $20,000 a year.

Former bankruptcy judge Melanie Cyganowski says a settlement would bring certainty to anxious retirees. Unions acknowledge that negotiation is important but they're pledging to appeal the judge's decision.

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr says he understands the hardship. But he says the city doesn't have money to shore up pension funds that are underfunded by $3.5 billion.

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