The November ballot in Illinois will ask voters if the state constitution should be amended to require a three-fifths vote by the General Assembly or a local government to enhance public pension benefits.
Unions oppose the measure, particularly because only a simple majority would still be required to cut benefits. Unions argue that the state's pension crisis is due to payment holidays, not overly generous benefits.
The state is carrying $82.9 billion of unfunded liabilities. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, wants lawmakers to adopt reforms that cut cost-of-living increases and shifts downstate and suburban teacher pension payments from the state to local districts. Republican opposition to the teacher cost shift has derailed several attempts to pass reforms this year.