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Pension Crisis Unresolved
Sat June 1, 2013
Illinois Legislature Adjourns; Plenty of Unfinished Business
The 2013 session of the Illinois General Assembly will more likely be remembered for what was not accomplished than for what was done.
One unresolved issue is the state’s $100 billion pension problem. The disappointment was palpable when it became clear lawmakers would be leaving town without agreeing on a fix.
“Obviously this is a session where we have not enjoyed a great deal of success," said House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago).
His pension plan failed spectacularly in the Senate. Madigan has significant differences with Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) over how to address pensions, and their lack of agreement led to an angry statement from Governor Pat Quinn.
Cullerton took it in stride.
"It's not because we didn't try,” Cullerton said. “There’s no blame to go around. It's just people have different positions and it's difficult to get 30 votes on it."
Lawmakers also rejected a plan to shift pension costs from the state to colleges and universities.
Few issues attracted as much attention as same-sex marriage, but that didn't even get a vote. Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago), who sponsored the legislation, said he did not think he had enough support to get it passed.
What did lawmakers accomplish? They approved regulations for hydraulic fracturing, as well as a system to allow people to carry concealed firearms.
Lawmakers aren't scheduled to return to Springfield until October, but Quinn said he plans to meet with House and Senate leaders during the first week of June to talk about pensions.