Quinn sets new deadline, forms new committee for pension reform

Quinn sets new deadline, forms new committee for pension reform

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

It's a monster gobbling up every other part of state government's budget: Illinois's $100 billion dollars in unfunded public employee pensions. Facing a deadline for action Wednesday, Governor Quinn and the general assembly formed a new committee and set a new deadline.

Unable and unwilling to rescue taxpayers from the crushing burden of that monstrous pension debt, the governor and legislators decided, "Don't just stand there. Let's do something!"

The general assembly's brief special session went pretty much as every other deadline day has for years on comprehensive pension reform. It came. It went. And now there's yet another, new deadline.

"I've set July 9th -- that's a Tuesday -- as a deadline for the general assembly to propose a comprehensive pension reform agreement that can be put on my desk, we can pass into law," Quinn said Wednesday.

To negotiate and write that agreement legislative leaders appointed a bipartisan committee with 5 members each from the House and Senate. One, Northbrook's Rep. Elaine Nekritz, warned immediately that the group would need more time, adding, "I don't think the (governor's) July date is real."

One key reason, the state's powerful public employee unions. They give millions of campaign dollars to both Democrats and Republicans in Springfield. They vow to make no more concessions, insisting it would be unfair to retirees counting on their promised state pension. Many analysts, though, said union concessions so far are too small to solve the pension funding crisis.

The governor's number crunchers said the unfunded pension liability Illinois grows $17 million a day -- that's $86,400 every second of every day.

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