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Illinois Budget, Illinois Pensions, Illinois Politics

Illinois Budget: Pat Quinn Hints at Special Session

(Springfield, IL) — May 27, 2010. After Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) today adjourned the Senate without passing the $4 billion pension borrowing bill, Governor Pat Quinn shortly afterward issued a statement that said the legislature had not finished its work, hinting at a special session.

“Our task is not complete, and there’s more that must be accomplished before this session officially ends.

I remind members of the General Assembly that the people of Illinois are depending upon their elected officials to promptly and squarely address the serious fiscal issues confronting our state.

But I want to commend the General Assembly for approving the Emergency Budget Act. This initiative is included in a process called ’Budgeting for Outcomes,’ which enables the governor and legislators to define spending priorities including job creation, achieve major cost-savings and provide greater accountability to the public through increased disclosure. I also commend legislators for taking more furlough days, decreasing mileage reimbursement and suspending their cost-of-living raises.

In addition, I commend the General Assembly for passing Illinois’ first-ever Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday. This is a pro-consumer effort that will give families a much-needed break when buying clothes, books and other school-related goods while also generating greater sales and creating more jobs.

I also urge lawmakers to endorse my Administration’s plan to fund public employee pensions through strategic borrowing at reasonable rates that will save taxpayers billions of dollars.”

Without the pension borrowing bill or a specific legislation to permit a pension payment suspension–a pension holiday–the state is obligated to pay $4.1 billion into the state pension systems.

To pay the pension bill, Quinn would need–legally–to gouge another 15% out of the state’s $26.2 billion budget. It’s not gonna happen. Quinn, the ultimate progressive at heart, will not shred an admitted already tattered social safety net and education. The Governor will likely allow an unauthorized pension holiday.

With a new state budget that carries $6.1 billion in unpaid bills–and that is constitutionally unbalanced–an illegal pension holiday seems like no big deal at this point.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and Huffington Post blogger, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.


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David Ormsby, Editor

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