Quinn won't say how he'll punish lawmakers over pension reform

2013-07-09T17:39:00Z 2013-10-08T23:10:33Z Quinn won't say how he'll punish lawmakers over pension reformKurt Erickson Times Bureau The Quad-City Times

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn won't say what he's planning to do to punish state lawmakers for failing to find a pension fix by his self-imposed Tuesday deadline.

In an exchange with reporters Tuesday, the Democrat from Chicago said he's been working hard to resolve the state's pension mess, even though he riled lawmakers by skipping a special legislative hearing Monday.

Quinn said the special committee — tasked with overhauling a pension system that is underfunded by nearly $100 billion — is dragging its feet.

"They broke the deadline again. We'll see what happens," Quinn said. "I think they let the people of Illinois down."

The governor has warned there will be "consequences" for missing his deadline, but he hasn't outlined a course of action.

He has not yet signed a major piece of the new state budget containing funding for lawmaker salaries, triggering speculation he could use his veto pen to strike money for their salaries as a way to pressure them into resolving the pension woes.

Asked if he would cut the General Assembly's pay, Quinn didn't answer the question directly.

"We will be working on that this week," Quinn said.

The 10-member group hopes to have an analysis of various pension changes completed by July 19 that would show how much money each would save. They said there was no reason to rush to meet Quinn's deadline until they knew the financial impact of the various proposals.

In addition, most of the changes being considered by the General Assembly wouldn't go into effect until next year.

"It can't go into effect until next June," Senate President John Cullerton said, dismissing the governor's pressure. "It's going to take a while."

Quinn said lawmakers need to get moving.

"We don't need any more excuses," the governor said. "We don't need any more alibis."

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