Illinois Gov. to legislators: No pension reform, no pay
July 10th, 2013
02:59 PM ET
1 year ago

Illinois Gov. to legislators: No pension reform, no pay

(CNN) – An exasperated Illinois governor Wednesday suspended pay for state legislators until they pass employee pension reform for state workers.

Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, issued a line item veto to a budget bill, House Bill 214, suspending the pay of all members of the state legislature. The veto came after the general assembly again failed to pass pension reform.

In a press conference announcing the pay suspension, Quinn repeatedly called the lack of comprehensive pension reform a "crisis," one requiring desperate action from himself and the legislature.

"They're not going to get paid until they get the pension reform accomplished," Quinn said in a press conference. Illinois legislators make $67,836 a year, according to the governor's office. The governor defended his action by saying he is authorized by the state constitution to veto any bill or line item.

Quinn himself will receive no pay until the matter is over, he said, having ordered the state comptroller to withhold his salary.

"I've tried everything in the book to get [the legislature's] attention," Quinn said, referring to normal workers who do not get paid until after their work is done. "It's time for the legislature to legislate."

The Chicago Democrat has made pension reform a major part of his administration since first taking office in January of 2009. In a statement, he called Illinois's pension problem the "worst-in-the-nation," the product of 70 years of mismanagement by past legislatures and governors. This year alone saw a $1 billion payment to the pension system.

Neither house of the state general assembly was in session today. Both are controlled by Democrats.

Illinois state Senate President John J. Cullerton has in the past called pension reform his highest priority. On Wednesday however, the Democrat defended the legislature. "Lawmakers have worked hard this session," Cullerton said in a statement. "Passing a balanced budget, paying off hundreds of millions of dollars in old bills, cutting their own pay and numerous, serious bipartisan efforts to enact comprehensive pension reform."

Cullerton continued, "The governor's actions today are as unproductive as yesterday's arbitrary deadline. Responsible leaders know that unworkable demands will only delay progress," he said. "Our efforts on pensions will continue until we've reached our goal. In the meantime, the work of the pensions conference committee shouldn't be undermined or deterred by today's or future political grandstanding."

The pension conflict makes the second major row in Illinois between the governor and the legislature in as many days. Tuesday, the general assembly overrode Quinn's veto of gun control legislation, making Illinois the last state in the country to allow carried firearms to be concealed.

Illinois becomes 50th state to allow concealed weapons

Possibly in reaction to that override, Quinn Wednesday accused the general assembly of being more responsible to special interests than to the state. "When the National Rifle Association has a deadline for a legislature, they're right on it," he said. "But what about the taxpayers?"


Filed under: Illinois • State Legislatures
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Sure wish we could suspend the U.S. Congress' pay.

    July 10, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. California

    CHitown politics. How Mobster of them.

    July 10, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    Nice mess. This is what you get when you have politicians writing out checks for goodies that don't have to be cashed until years down the line. Congrats, Illinois... you're not far behind California as the odds-on-favorite for being the first state to go bankrupt.

    July 10, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Boomer in Mo

    Nice try but it probably will not work. MO went from a guaranteed benefit to a defined benefit for its pension system long ago, with the employees having to contribute. They hated it but so what. That's what the private sector offers most of us now. And MO's state pension funds seem to be secure although payouts had to be reduced early on in the recession. The fund has recovered since so the payouts have been raised a bit. Ill. ought to try it.

    July 10, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. Collier

    Here's an idea. What if we vote all of the do nothing, over paid, underachievers out of their congressional seats this next time, and attach all retirement, medical and life benefits for these do nothing creeps to actual achievements in the future. Wonder how many of these so called leaders would fold the tent and go hide in the woods?

    July 10, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  6. Boomer in Mo

    Actually Fair is Fair, California seems to be healing up with a budget surplus this year. I'm sure lots of things need to be improved in California. Historically, some of the worst ideas about governing come from California.

    July 10, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. Gurgyl

    Borderless is also brainless....

    July 10, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. shocking

    OK, you have Democrat politicians giving their union supporters all sorts of benefits that the taxpayers will have to pay for way down the rioad and then the unions support the Democrat politicians when they run for office. This is government corruption. And now the bill comes due because the road has come to a financial dead end.

    It will be soo so nice to see the Democrats and their union owners eat each other over this. There is some justice in this world.

    July 10, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "CHitown politics. How Mobster of them."

    Haha...I assume you said the same thing about the House GOP/Tetrolls trying to violate the Constitution by legislating a withholding of congressional pay unless they got their way on things? IOKIYAR

    July 10, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "California seems to be healing up with a budget surplus this year"

    With a Dem running the show after it tanked under a GOPer.

    July 10, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    California wrote:

    CHitown politics. How Mobster of them.
    ---------------–
    Can you say "debt ceiling standoff"? Let's not pay our nation's bills and default on our debts. The House had already authorized the money to be spent, don't forget. "It will be okay if we default on our debt." Some Republicans actually said stuff to the effect, Bachmann being first and foremost.

    July 10, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. Data Driven

    A little red meat for the conservative down-staters, Governor Quinn? Nice grandstanding!

    Amazing how Republican-y Democrats can be when trying to get at least some of the Limbaugh vote.

    July 10, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. truth hurts but reality bites

    The Chicago Democrat has made pension reform a major part of his administration since first taking office in January of 2009. In a statement, he called Illinois's pension problem the "worst-in-the-nation," the product of 70 years of mismanagement by past legislatures and governors. This year alone saw a $1 billion payment to the pension system.
    Neither house of the state general assembly was in session today. Both are controlled by Democrats.
    --

    Well this pretty much sums up the problem. 70 years of Democrat party control of the state. I wonder who they are going to try and blame this fiasco on? Is this what our entire country is heading towards? Unfortunately that is the case based on all information currently available.

    July 10, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Neither house of the state general assembly was in session today."

    Yeah, well. Seems to be a raging epidemic nation-wide. Boehner Influenza. Quite virulent ... yes?

    July 10, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    " Unfortunately that is the case based on all information currently available."

    Oh? Do tell...let's here "all information currently available." Please recite it for us.

    *crickets*

    July 10, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    truth hurts .... wrote:

    Well this pretty much sums up the problem. 70 years of Democrat party control of the state.....
    ------------
    They just released Republican Governor George Ryan after serving 5 years in prison just last week.

    July 10, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -truth hurts but reality bites

    The Chicago Democrat has made pension reform a major part of his administration since first taking office in January of 2009. In a statement, he called Illinois's pension problem the "worst-in-the-nation," the product of 70 years of mismanagement by past legislatures and governors. This year alone saw a $1 billion payment to the pension system.
    Neither house of the state general assembly was in session today. Both are controlled by Democrats.
    -

    Well this pretty much sums up the problem. 70 years of Democrat party control of the state. I wonder who they are going to try and blame this fiasco on? Is this what our entire country is heading towards? Unfortunately that is the case based on all information currently available.

    ********************

    Too bad the information you used seem to neglect the fact that Democrats have NOT run the state for the last 70 years.
    Ex-governor Ryan got released from prison last week, and he had an R next to his name. Downstate IL is solidly GOP, and has been for generations. Ever hear of Bob Michel? Dennis Hastert? Plenty of GOP heavyweights cut their teeth in the state legislature, and they have produced their share of governors. Too bad you ignored those facts.

    July 10, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. boungiorno

    your gettin exactly what your hate spewin mouths created now QUIT COMPLAINING MORONS

    July 10, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. way too obvious

    OK, so the state needs money to pay its obligations. Democrats control all parts of govenrment. RAISE TAXES!!! Elections have consequences. Make the people of Illinois pay for their 70 years of putting Democrats in control of their government. You asked for it people. Now pay for it!!

    July 10, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. truth hurts but reality bites

    Democrats have controlled the Illinois state legislature forever. That is where all spending originates. Don't you people understand how government works? Or in Illinois's case, doesn't work.

    July 10, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. daboys777

    I like this guy. Any way we could do this on a federal level?

    July 10, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. truth hurts but reality bites

    way too obvious
    OK, so the state needs money to pay its obligations. Democrats control all parts of govenrment. RAISE TAXES!!!
    --
    Illinois governor Pat Quinn recently signed into law tax legislation that increases tax rates for individuals and corporations. Under this new legislation the individual income tax rate will temporarily increase to 5% and the corporate tax rate will temporarily increase to 9.5%. This tax hike is retroactive and takes effect as of January 1, 2011.
    Increases to Illinois Individual Income Tax
    With the passing of this new legislation comes a 67% tax increase for individuals. After January 1, 2011, Illinois flat income tax on individuals will increase from 3% to 5%. Illinois income tax is a flat tax, so this new 5% tax rate will apply to individuals at all income levels.
    ---

    Sorry, they already tried that. Looks like they just need to keep taking more and more to pay for the Democrats generosity to the unions. But I agree. They need to cough up and make the people pay for the disaster that they kept voting into office.

    July 10, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. Democrat Culture of Death and Fiscal Destruction

    Nothing that a 15% state income tax rate won't solve. Just bend over a little further Illinois tax payers. Don't worry, you don't need all that money. Your kids will learn to live with less food on the table.

    July 10, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. Rick McDaniel

    Even the Dems know when unions have gone too far.

    July 10, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |