Quinn: Inaction On Pension “Lets Down Taxpayers”
Illinois legislators gathered all day on Tuesday to deal with a new gun law, and then promptly adjourned without taking action on the state's pensions.
That sets the stage for another showdown between Gov. Pat Quinn and the General Assembly.
The Chicago Democrat set Tuesday as a deadline for a bipartisan pension panel to report back with a plan. That was even as members of the so-called conference committee formed last month called his deadline arbitrary and irresponsible.
Lawmakers involved in pension talks say they are edging closer to a deal, but they are not there quite yet. They say there is no hurry to get done right now - a new law wouldn't take effect until next year.
Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said as much as legislators want to pass a pension overhaul, it is complicated.
"We passed a bill, we're not lazy,” Cullerton said. “We passed a bill with two-thirds vote. The House passed a bill, they're not lazy. We just didn't have an agreement cause it's so complicated, and so it's going to take a while."
Although legislators were already making their way back to their districts, Gov. Quinn wasn't ready to concede defeat:
"Well, we'll give them until midnight, you know I think it's important that they have the full amount of time to enact it," he said.
Quinn said there will be consequences for lawmakers, but he has declined to say exactly what he would do.
However, he did not deny the possibility of cutting legislative salaries from a budget bill. He has yet to sign legislation that would put parts of the state budget in place. If he doesn not sign it, the comptroller will not be able to issue paychecks to numerous state employees.
Illinois is already more than a week into the fiscal year.