Gov. Pat Quinn wants the General Assembly to pass a pension reform plan today, before a new legislature is sworn in at noon Wednesday, he said in a Springfield news conference.
“Pension reform has confounded Illinois legislatures and governors for 70 years,” Quinn said. “There’ve been 12 governors, 13 speakers of the house and 12 presidents of the senate that have grappled with this issue, and we have continued to grapple with this issue. We’re working night and day on this issue.”
Quinn pointed out that Illinois’ $96 billion pension obligation -- the highest in the nation -- increases by $17 million a day.
"That’s over $100 million a week that we are seeing our pension liability go up," he said. “If the General Assembly doesn’t act, our economy suffers. Our jobs are either foregone or lost.”
The governor wants a system that will erase the state’s pension liability in the coming generation, he said.
“We cannot have a system where billions and billions each year go to paying pensions, where we do not have enough money for schools and public safety,” he said.
Quinn met with members of the Hispanic Caucus Monday night. He believes the roll call on a pension reform plan is “close” and promised “to work all day with all the members of the House and Senate” to pass it.