By Jamey Dunn
With the prospects for passing pension reform in the next 24 hours dwindling, Gov. Pat Quinn called on lawmakers to work out a plan that can make it through both chambers before the new General Assembly is seated tomorrow.
“We’re trying to get to a bill that we can enact that will make things better for the people of Illinois,” Quinn said this morning.
While Quinn would not say the votes aren’t there for any of the bills currently being considered, including a plan approved by a House committee yesterday, he did say more compromise is needed. “I feel, when you talk to members of both houses, that more compromises are necessary before we get to a solution that can move us forward.”
Quinn did not throw his support behind any specific proposal as his preferred plan. “People of good faith have different ideas, different concepts, different structures, and I respect all of those,” he said. “I really feel that it is important to have a vote on some sort of structure that moves us forward.”
Nor was he willing to concede defeat. “I’m going to work all day with all the members of the House, and then the Senate is coming in later. I think we owe it to the people to work all day on coming up with a structure that moves us forward. We cannot run in place.” A spokesperson for Senate President John Cullerton said senators continue to be on “standby” awaiting House action.
Quinn warned that inaction on pension reform would damage the state’s economy and lead to a downgrade in the state’s bond rating. “We cannot allow our state economy, the Illinois, economy, to be held hostage by political timidity. We have to be bold. We have to do things that are difficult. We have to take on the challenge of our time and meet that challenge.”