Illinois' pension problem grows by $17 million everyday. Time is literally money when it comes to getting state leaders to come together and fix it. A new idea could be to compromise with an emphasis on saving money.
The General Assembly has a pair of pension reform proposals on the table, but neither of them have gotten support from both chambers.
On Monday, Governor Pat Quinn, Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan sat down to figure out how to lift this deadlock.
"The best pension bill passed so far, the one that does the most cost-savings is the House Bill and that's in the Senate." -22nd District Representative Madigan says.
According to the Speak, the House proposal comes with across-the-board cuts, fully funding the broken pension system by 2044. The Senate's version gives workers a choice in their benefits, but takes the state longer to heal.
6th District Senator Cullerton says the deadlock isn't a power struggle between the two chambers' leaders. Cullerton actually favors the House version, but other Senators don't feel the same way.
"I would point out that the bill the speaker passed, the one he's referring to, Senate Bill 1, I sponsored the bill, I voted for the bill and we didn't have enough votes." -Cullerton explains.
Governor Quinn wants legislators to vote on a bill that combines both ideas with Madigan's proposal as the primary plan and Cullerton's as the back-up in case Madigan's doesn't hold up in court.
"I appeal to them on behalf of the people of Illinois to work together as they have on many occasions in the past to put this priority on my desk." -Quinn adds.
The next step is to get State Representatives and Senators on board. All three leaders have just nine days before Special Session starts. Madigan has expressed concerns that Quinn's idea to collaborate is too complicated.
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