Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is calling the state legislature into special session to deal with the pension reform issues left undone during the last session. The governor made the announcement as he addressed the City of Club of Chicago today.
Quinn on Monday said suburban Chicago and downstate school districts must pay their own pension costs, which the state currently picks up. He proposed a 12-year phase in of that idea.
Pension reform has been on hold all summer as negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over how to address the some $83 billion in unfunded liability have gone nowhere.
Quinn says, “It’s time to vote.”
Quinn then said of lawmakers. “See you in Springfield.”
The Illinois House already was scheduled to be in that day to deal with the fate of indicted Democratic Rep. Derrick Smith of Chicago.
The Democratic governor’s special session proclamation would bring the Senate back to Springfield as well. The proclamation sent by the governor to the legislature and the press is as follows:
WHEREAS, on January 10, 2011, I took the Constitutional oath of office to become Governor of the State of Illinois, solemnly swearing to uphold both the Illinois Constitution and the Constitution of the United States, and promising to “faithfully discharge the duties of the office of Governor to the best of my abilities”; and
WHEREAS, I am committed to fulfilling my oath of office to serve the people of the State of Illinois by ensuring that government operates responsibly, and restoring fiscal stability to the State; and
WHEREAS, the State is currently facing an unprecedented pension crisis that, unchecked, compromises the State’s credit rating and threatens the continued delivery of vital programs and services including education, public safety and human services; and
WHEREAS, the current unfunded pension liability of more than $83 billion is unsustainable and costs taxpayers millions of dollars every day it goes unaddressed; and
WHEREAS, the State’s fiscal year 2013 budget is $33.7 billion, approximately 15 percent of which will go toward pensions alone; and
WHEREAS, on April 20, 2012, I proposed a Public Pension Stabilization Plan that would have eliminated the unfunded liability to secure 100 percent actuarial funding of the pensions systems by 2042; and
WHEREAS, I have continued work with the leaders of all four legislative caucuses to introduce legislation that would eliminate the State’s unfunded pension liability; stabilize and strengthen the pension systems and ensure that the public employees who have faithfully contributed to the system receive benefits; and
WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of Illinois taxpayers that measures to strengthen and reform the State’s pension systems be adopted and implemented without further delay; and
WHEREAS, Article IV, Section 5(b) of the Illinois Constitution empowers the Governor, as Chief Executive, to convene special session of the General Assembly;
THEREFORE, pursuant to Article IV, Section 5(b) of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I, Governor Pat Quinn, hereby call and convene the 97th General Assembly in a special session to commence on August 17, 2012, at 1:00 p.m., for the purpose of considering any legislation, new or pending, which addresses pension reform.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books