ILLINOIS (IRN) – In the winter, Gov. Pat Quinn promised to keep lawmakers in Springfield all summer if they didn’t enact pension reductions. Now it’s summer, and that’s not happening.
The pension talks are stalled pending an examination of all state funding for schools, at the request of the Senate minority leader. But the governor says when legislative leaders reach a deal, members of the General Assembly probably will be called back into session.
“Summertime is a good time to act, and so the legislators have to be on their toes here that this is a matter that is confounding our state for decades, and it must be resolved, now,” he said.
The state has an unfunded pension liability north of $80 billion, and lawmakers and the governor are looking at ways to raise the retirement age, cap cost-of-living adjustments and require state workers to pay more in.
The holdup is whether school districts Downstate and in the suburbs should contribute to their employees’ pensions. The governor says yes, otherwise they have no incentive to be responsible with pensions.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) says she doesn’t oppose requiring Downstate and suburban schools to contribute, as Chicago schools already do, but she asked for the examination of school funding to identify the various benefits Chicago schools get vs. the rest of the state to see if they should be balanced out.