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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The amount Illinois must pay to keep pace with its pension systems should grow less than 2 percent next year but still total nearly $7 billion.

A state actuary's reportthat Auditor General William Holland released Tuesday says taxpayers must pay $6.86 billion in the fiscal year that begins July 1. That's up about $100 million from this fiscal year.

Lawmakers adopted a reform plan in early December for the five pension systems to cut a $100 billion debt. But it doesn't take effect until June 1 and has been challenged in court.

The actuary suggested that three systems covering teachers, university employees and general state employees lower the estimated investment return they expect. It made the same suggestion last year but the numbers didn't change.

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