Budget dilemma looms for Illinois Democrats

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Democrats who run Illinois insist they're serious about controlling pension and health costs, even though it would mean opposing their own constituents and political allies in an election year.

That's a tall order in a state infamous for emphasizing politics over policy and budget shortcuts over long-term solutions.

Many states, particularly those led by Republicans, have already taken drastic steps to fix their budgets.

Now Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is proposing $2 billion in cuts to the state Medicaid program, which serves struggling families that provide key votes for some Democrats.

He also wants to raise the retirement age for public employees and take more of their pay for retirement. Labor groups that donate millions of dollars to Illinois Democrats say this is unfair and unconstitutional.

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