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Workers reconsider retiring because of pension reform plans

SPRINGFIELD -- As lawmakers inch closer to a pension-reform deal, the reality of changing benefits is sinking in for state workers and teachers.
SPRINGFIELD -- As lawmakers inch closer to a pension-reform deal, the reality of changing benefits is sinking in for state workers and teachers. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels has more.

Everyone's worried, so a lot of people who are counting on state pensions to retire are considering doing it now before any changes happen. At least one man is doing the opposite.

Gary Gullone has been a part of Clinton Public Schools for more than 30-years. Now, he's the principal of the grade school and he's at a crossroad.

"I'm at the point I would like to continue, but at what cost to me?"

He's getting close to retirement, but doesn't know if it's the right thing to do since a pension overhaul could be around the corner.

"I feel that I've done my fair share and what they've asked me to do, because they made these laws, and we've abided by them, and now they want to change the rules. That kind of bothers me."

The latest plan would mean Gary would have to start paying in 2-percent more. And, when he retires, he'll get smaller cost-of-living increases than retirees get now.

"I'm a little bit worried because we have established some of these things and now it may be slashed."

He says the proposed changes make him not want to stop working.

"When I approach a lot of people that are retired, they go, 'well, I'm working to make ends meet,' and I go, 'what do you mean, you're working to make ends meet?' You know, you're 68, 69 years old and you're working to make ends meet? So, I might as well just stay right where I am for a long time."

It's something Garry says he's happy to do.

 "I enjoy what I'm doing and I love what I'm doing. But a lot of others put in their 30 or 35 years and probably want or need to retire."

The House passed a pension reform bill Thursday. Now it moves to the Senate. They all say pension reform is their top priority this month.
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