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Illinois Docks Lawmakers' Paychecks for Pension Inaction


Illinois still hasn’t done anything about its pension crisis, and its inaction has become an embarrassment. After failing to pass a reform bill in 2012, and failing again to do anything before its session adjourned in May, the state legislature has just missed yet another deadline. After the Spring session adjourned, Governor Pat Quinn called a special session to pass a pension reform bill. The governor set a deadline to get a bill passed by Tuesday, but by midnight, the session had passed a measure to remove restrictions on concealed-carry without even touching the pensions issue.

Quinn had vowed that there would be consequences if the legislature didn’t pass anything by midnight, and he’s already delivering on that promise. This morning, Quinn announced that lawmakers will not be paid until a bill is passed. The AP reports:

[Quinn] said he would use his line-item veto power in a budget bill that’s on his desk, also vowing to not accept a salary himself until a deal has been reached. Lawmakers would have to vote to reject his changes if they want to get paid….

“They must have that alarm bell ringing in their ears and the best way to do that is to hit them in the wallet,” he said at a news conference in downtown Chicago.

State lawmakers, for their part, are arguing that they are waiting for actuaries to analyze the proposed plan. This is a fair point, but after working on this issue for well over a year, they’ve had more than enough time to get the basics sorted out.

If Quinn’s latest move doesn’t spur them to action, expect this ugly mess to get uglier and messier.

[State Capitol of Illinois image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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