Quinn scolds Illinois lawmakers on pension problem


Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn is scolding lawmakers for not meeting sooner to hash out a solution to the state's pension crisis.

Lawmakers from both parties held a first pension conference meeting on Thursday. Quinn said at an unrelated event Thursday that lawmakers shouldn't have taken "their sweet time." The governor says the committee members needed to have new ideas for solving the $97 billion problem. He says they need to stop complaining about his July 9 deadline.

Quinn says failure to act is putting a squeeze on the state budget and taking money away from crucial services like education. He says lawmakers have an obligation to the state's children.

He warned lawmakers that he won't budget from his position and will veto any pension bill that doesn't fully fund the system.

Earlier story:

CHICAGO (AP) - Union officials say they believe a pension overhaul backed by Senate President John Cullerton is still the best option to solve the state's nearly $100 billion pension crisis.
Representatives from the We Are One Coalition spoke Thursday before the first meeting of a bipartisan panel tasked with finding a compromise on two plans that have divided lawmakers.
Cullerton's plan gives workers and retirees a choice in retirement benefits. It was never called for a House floor vote. Last month the Senate rejected House Speaker Michael Madigan's bill that unilaterally cuts benefits.
The Coalition supports Cullerton's plan and calls its structure a compromise that will survive a court challenge. The group was scheduled to testify before the panel.
The Madigan bill is SB1. The Cullerton bill is SB2404.
Online: www.ilga.gov

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