The latest session in Springfield ended with the legislators heading home again without passing any pension reform legislation.
It appears that our elected representatives opted to take the safe way out and wait for the November elections when all 59 Senate and 118 House seats are up for grabs – another blatant lack of political courage and more" kicking the can down the road."
Leadership failed as well with House Speaker Madigan not wanting to offend the powerful labor unions and Governor Quinn failing to drive the agenda to bring the reform legislation to a vote in this session.
The members of the legislature especially Democrats undoubtedly received heavy heat from the state teachers unions and state government workers who happen to be 96 percent unionized and the core constituency of the Democratic Party.
The Republican members led by GOP leader Cross refused to deal with the huge issue of sending teacher retirement costs from the state to suburban and Downstate districts - a very unpopular notion in many parts of Illinois.
Last weeks results from the recall attempt in neighboring Wisconsin sends a very clear signal that voters are comfortable and do expect their state governments to shave benefits from government worker unions in order to rein in the massive pension and Medicare debt.
Illinois has a pension hole of $83 billion (that's a B) and deferring this issue will result in further downgrades to the state's credit rating and crush the budget plan.
Gov. Quinn has called for a special session to deal with this massive problem and that Illinois is "racing the clock" in solving the issue.
Where's the urgency??? I call on the Governor and the state legislature to stop the political games and hammer out real pension reform legislation, and do so in a special session this summer.
We can no longer play political rope a dope when it comes to pension reform. The time bomb is ticking. Illinois deserves better.
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