Illinois lawmakers have created a committee to address the state's 97-billion-dollar pension problem. The House and Senate agreed to form a bipartisan conference committee to tackle the nation’s largest state pension shortfall.
Governor Pat Quinn requested the committee as a way to end a stalemate between House and Senate leaders. Senate President John Cullerton says there's no guarantee it will work but calls it a good step toward a compromise:
"Now we have a conference committee that the Speaker's agreed to do - rather than just insist that we keep on voting on his bill. And that's a very positive step. And so we'll now have a conference committee, we'll have testimony, and we'll see if we can reach an agreement."
Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan, both Democrats, are each allowed to appoint three people to the 10-member committee. Republican Leaders Tom Cross and Christine Radogno each get two.
Here’s who’s on the pension committee:
- Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook
- Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside
- Rep. Art Turner, D-Chicago
- Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago
- Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston
- Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora
- Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville
- Rep. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy
- Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine
- Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington
Governor Quinn set a July 9th deadline for the committee to come up with their solutions. Some lawmakers expressed skepticism with that short deadline, saying it takes time to crunch the numbers…and there are a lot of numbers. Quinn countered that there’s sufficient time and there’s no room for excuses in such an urgent matter.