Governor, lawmakers look at what's next for pension debate

Aug 20, 2012

Governor Pat Quinn is expected to start a campaign to boost support for changes to Illinois' pension systems.  During last week's special session, lawmakers failed to approve a plan that would address the state’s massively underfunded retirement systems.

Without a vote, many worry about downgrades to the state’s bond ratings. Through a grassroots campaign, Governor Quinn says he’s going to appeal to taxpayers to put more pressure on lawmakers to get something done.

DeKalb-area Representative Bob Pritchard points the finger at Democratic leaders for failing to produce an agreement that most lawmakers would accept. The Republican says he would like to see more input from rank-and-file members of the General Assembly.

"I think there's a lot of good ideas, that we can work in a bipartisan manner and do some compromising to get a sustainable and fair pension system" Pritchard said.

Pritchard says any changes should only affect current state workers. He says it would be unfair to ask people already retired to make sacrifices.  

Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Mike Noland of Elgin says while a comprehensive overhaul is needed, he doesn't see it happening anytime soon:  

"I don't see that happening before the election. I don't see that happening, really, even in the veto session, probably won't happen until January" Noland said.  

At the very least, Noland says the House needs to adopt a measure that has already cleared the Senate.  That plan would only address two of the state's five pension systems.  House Republicans have balked at that proposal, saying it's too weak.