Gov Pat Quinn is calling state lawmakers back to Springfield for a special session to deal with the state’s downgraded credit rating. Quinn says taxpayers are on the hook for $17 million dollars each day without pension reform.
The spring legislative session ended last week with no deal on competing bills passed in the House and the Senate.
House speaker Michael Madigan would cut costs by cutting back on pension benefits for retirees and current state workers.
Senate President John Cullerton’s plan, which is supported by the unions, takes a more cautious approach with less savings for the state by tying pension benefits to health coverage.
Madigan did not show up. His spokesperson says he wasn’t available.
Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno, who supports the House plan, says she’s hopeful, but not terribly optimistic Democratic leadership will be able to break the stalemate.
“Taxpayers absolutely should be outraged because the failure to solve the pension problem impacts every part of state government…the pension obligation is swallowing us up ,” she said.
Quinn released a statement saying, “Time and time again over the past two years, I have proposed, asked and pushed members of the General Assembly to send me a comprehensive pension reform bill. Time and time again, failure to act by deadlines has resulted in the bond rating agencies lowering our credit rating, which hurts our economy, wastes taxpayer money and shortchanges the education of our children.”
The special session is scheduled for June 19th.