Illinois lawmakers try to resolve budget, pensions

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois lawmakers are on the verge of deciding whether to cut money for education and human services, as well as reduce benefits for retired public employees.

The spring legislative session is scheduled to end Thursday at midnight. But before lawmakers can go home, they must pass a new state budget and decide a long list of other issues.

The biggest is how to reduce the state's annual pension costs, which are growing so quickly that it leaves little money for other needs. A House committee has approved a plan to reduce cost-of-living increases for retired state employees, university staff and teachers from the Chicago suburbs and downstate.

Another issue that could pop up on the final day is a major gambling expansion.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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