Gov Quinn touted his accomplishments of the last four years Wednesday in his State of the State address.
But the consensus among his opponents in Springfield is that it was a campaign speech, more about reelection and light on the biggest problem faced by his administration.
The speech had promises on education, health care and public safety, and invoked the tragic story of Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teen shot and killed last week.
Quinn wants Illinois’ minimum wage to increase from $8.25 to $10 an hour over the next four years. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, but Illinois’ rate has been higher for years. Business groups are likely to oppose such a change.
The Democratic governor also reiterate his support for gay marriage .Quinn called for a statewide ban on assault weapons and the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines. He wants to strengthen background checks and require gun owners to report lost or stolen guns to avoid so-called “straw purchasers.”
The governor also offered some of what he wants as the state moves toward allowing conceal carry following a federal appellate ruling that tossed out the state’s long standing ban.
Where the speech was short, critics say, was on issue #1, the out-of control pension problem crushing the state economy.
“Pat Quinn, with a legislature controlled by his own party, has done nothing in four years on our state’s biggest problem, which is pension reform,” said Republican Sen Kirk Dillard.
Even among Democrats, there are rumblings about the Governor’s vulnerability. Even as he touts his reforms of the past four years, calls for an assault weapons ban and delivering what sounded like the first speech of a reelection campaign.
The state pensions issue is a nearly $97 billion dollar problem that’s only getting worse. Failure to make a deal on them equals a major political liability for the governor.
Quinn mentioned his support for Senate Bill 1, a hybrid legislation proposed by the senate president that could lead to a bipartisan solution.
-The Chicago Tribune Contributed to the report