Illinois Governor Pat Quinn “Desperately needs a win” on pension reform. That’s the conclusion of political scientist Kent Redfield. The U of I - Springfield professor spoke ahead of next week’s special session on pensions, which Quinn ordered. Redfield says the Governor repeatedly blamed pension costs for the state's budget problems. If no agreement is reached, Redfield says, Quinn will look weak going into next year’s primary election:
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says he’ll be meeting with legislative leaders Monday to discuss pension reform. Lawmakers adjourned for the summer without agreeing on the best way to reduce benefits for state employees.
Quinn says that cost is cutting into other state expenses.
A second major rating agency is downgrading Illinois' credit worthiness. Moody's Investors Service lowered the state's $27 billion in outstanding bond debt to A3 from A2. The new rating's three levels above junk status.
Illinois Democrats continued approving a new state budget on party-line votes. The Senate approved spending plans for education -- from elementary and high schools to colleges and universities -- with funding pretty much at last year's level.
Cuts proposed earlier this year by Governor Pat Quinn did not materialize, partly because Illinois collected more tax money than it expected in April.
Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge, says funding for higher education is critical because it's tied to the problem of unemployment.
One of the toughest issues facing Illinois lawmakers is moving along in the legislature. The House approved a plan supported by House Speaker Michael Madigan this afternoon. It now moves to the Senate.