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Illinois' next pension issue: Police and fire funds

Closer Look City Pensions
Peoria firefighters attack a fire with an aerial truck at the Archer Daniels Midland plant in Peoria, Ill. (AP Photo/Journal Star, Adam Gerik,File)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Mayors across Illinois are demanding that state lawmakers address serious shortfalls in local police and fire pension funds. The effort comes after the Illinois Legislature dealt with the state's own pension problem last year.

Local officials say increasing police and fire pension costs are forcing them to cut services and lay off employees. They say the costs will burden local taxpayers.

Cities are required to pay increasing amounts into these pension funds or they'll lose state funding in 2016. State law requires all police and fire pension funds to reach 90 percent funding by 2040.

City officials and unions disagree over blame for the problem. Some officials question levels of worker benefits. Union officials cite recent compromises and blame cities for bad choices in shirking payments.