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Pension Crisis Leads Daley Closer to Run for Governor

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Pension Crisis Leads Daley Closer to Run for Governor

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Lawmakers End Session With Unfinished Business

Lawmakers adjourned Friday without action on gay marriage, gambling expansion or pension reform. Carol Marin reports.

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Democrat William Daley reportedly said the state’s failure to address the pension crisis during spring session last week moved him closer to announcing a decision on whether to run for Governor of Illinois in the 2014 primary.

Daley said a strong governor would have settled the pension issue, finding a suitable compromise between suggested solutions, and would not have left Springfield unsettled as Gov. Pat Quinn did, Daley told the Chicago Tribune.

Daley, the son of late former Mayor Richard Daley and brother of former Mayor Richard Daley, said he was “shocked” by the Illinois Legislature, calling the statehouse “totally dysfunctional,” the Tribune reported.

Earlier this year, Daley said he was thinking of running for governor and planned to announce his decision sometime last month, though no decision has been publicly announced.

But the issues that plagued the Illinois Legislature last week, causing an uproar throughout Illinois, may have pushed him to the edge.

Pension reform relied heavily on two competing proposals, one sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan and another sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton.

Gov. Pat Quinn vowed to call legislative leaders together in the next week to come up with a fix for the state's $97 billion pension crisis.

Quinn issued a statement Friday, shortly after the Illinois House adjourned without a pension reform deal and a Senate spokeswoman said that chamber wouldn't take any more pension votes.

"The people of Illinois want the General Assembly to put comprehensive pension reform on my desk . ... "They do not want legislative leaders to play a $17 million-a-day game with the future of our state, our children and our economy," he said. "There is something wrong in Illinois when the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate could join together to propose a pension holiday for Chicago, yet they could not send a comprehensive pension reform bill to my desk."

Friday's inaction means soaring pension payments will continue to squeeze the state budget. It also could prompt credit rating agencies to further downgrade Illinois' rating, increasing the cost of borrowing.

Legislators have tried for years to solve the problem but have repeatedly failed.

Daley also reportedly said he was disappointed in the failure to pass the gay marriage bill, especially after Obama publicly backed it during his recent trip to Chicago, the Tribune reported.
 

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