Tue July 31, 2012
Quinn wants special session to deal with pensions
Governor Pat Quinn has called members of the state legislature back to Springfield August 17th for a special session on government pensions. But it's not clear if they're prepared to vote on the issue.
There's been a consensus among political leaders in Springfield that something has to be done about the state pension system. It's estimated to be $83-billion short of being able to meet its future obligations.
Despite months of meetings among the governor and top legislative leaders, they still don't agree on what to do.
Quinn says he's calling the special session to try to force action.
"I think the way to look at it over these next couple of weeks is for the people of Illinois to put pressure on the legislature, and I think this is a good time to say that, 'This is a crying need of our state. We must act' " Quinn said.
Both Democrats and Republicans have said they support changing benefits for current employees. The disagreement is over who should pay the employers' retirement cost for public school teachers. The state picks up the tab now.
Democrats want local school districts to gradually take over the payments. Republicans oppose that idea, saying it would lead to higher property taxes.