Gov. Pat Quinn’s op-ed…
Dear Illinois taxpayers,
I’ve always been honest with you.
As I write to you today, it’s been nearly two years since I made pension reform the top priority for Illinois. I’ve been fighting for it ever since.
I convened a pension working group in January 2012 and proposed a comprehensive pension reform plan three months later. I’ve worked across the aisle, called special sessions, set numerous deadlines and released several studies on the consequences of inaction on education and the economy.
Time and time again, I’ve met at length with legislators and leaders, and pressed them to vote for comprehensive pension reform.
Yet here we are today.
If I could resolve this by executive order, I would have done it long ago. But I cannot act alone.
The General Assembly must do its part and send me a bill that defuses the pension crisis.
Despite my best efforts, the speaker of the House and the Senate president failed to work together to put a bill on my desk. So last week I proposed a conference committee, a mechanism that historically has been used to break gridlock between the House and the Senate on contentious issues.
The good news is they agreed on this means to the end. But now, it’s time for the heavy lifting.
I have set July 9 as the final deadline to come up with a comprehensive pension reform bill that both chambers can support. My staff will continue working around the clock to provide the research and fiscal analysis necessary for members of the committee to get this job done.
Let me be clear: I will veto any legislation that does not erase the pension debt and provide 100 percent funding for the systems. From day one, this fundamental principle has been at the core of every pension reform bill I have backed.
Illinois currently has the worst-funded pension systems in the nation. Any solution that does not turn that statistic around is simply not good enough.
You sent us to Springfield to solve problems — not to dilly-dally with partial solutions. Now, some in the General Assembly already are suggesting new excuses as to why they may not be able to make the July 9 deadline:
“We need more time to get the numbers right …”
“We need extra days to negotiate …”
“The problem took decades to create and cannot be solved overnight …”
Enough with the alibis. We’ve discussed, debated and negotiated pension reform to death. The numbers have been crunched and crunched again. And taxpayers have been bearing the cost for these excuses, delays and blown deadlines. More…