And it is hard to blame them. Illinois Republicans are the mirror image of federal Democrats: they are the absolute minority party and have no tactical gain from supporting difficult governing decisions. Pension reform, defined as trimming very expensive future benefits, doesn't earn many votes but does alienate public sector employees who understand the power of walking a precinct. So the Republicans are making a play for public sector union support, really trying to woo the teachers, by simply opposing any pension cuts. So that leaves responsible government fewer options (defining responsible as trimming those benefits again). It's a smart tactic by the GOP - just as smart as the federal Dems refusing to support any reform of Social Security.
Unfortunately, it means we can't bond the pension gap at 5 percent and instead pay 8.5 percent in interest foregone.