CHAMPAIGN -- Governor Quinn and the four legislative leaders remain divided on reforming the state pension system. But some experts say lawmakers dug their own grave on this one.
After years of putting the public pension issue on the back burner, Illinois is ranked last in the country when it comes to funding them.
It's an $83 million mess. University of Illinois finance professor Jeff Brown says something's got to give.
"[The pension reform] should not be entirely on the backs of public employees," said Brown. "But at the same time, I just don't think it's realistic to think we can move ahead to the future with absolutely no changes."
Brown helped develop a pension reform proposal for state universities. The report outlines options that could save the state billions of dollars.
The plan suggests a hybrid retirement plan that would combine pension-type benefits with 401k-style contributions. But perhaps the most important recommendation is obligating the state to pay out its current pension promises.
But it's change that won't come easy.
"Once you've created a problem that's this big, there's no easy way out," said Brown.
To read Brown's complete pension reform plan, click here.