Published on January 6 2013 9:20 am
Last Updated on January 6 2013 9:56 am
Written by Wayne Moran
Governor Quinn and the state's top officials failed to agree on a framework to help reform Illinois' pension system yesterday.
House Speaker Michael Madigan called the two hour meeting in Chicago productive, but said there were still serious differences between the two sides on the issue. When asked why he thought progress had been made, Madigan joked, "Well, we weren't throwing punches at each other."
Several major issues remain in trying to reform the pension system before a new General Assembly is sworn in, including how a Democrat-led state government would change benefits for members of unions.
Another hangup is finding a resolution that meets the state constitution's requirement that says pensions are a "contractual benefit" that can't be "diminished or impaired."
Public employee unions have said in the past that they would likely sue the state if lawmakers try to shift the brunt of resolving the pension mess to their members pockets.
While Illinois' fiscal position remains precarious, the meeting with Quinn and the leaders of the state House and Senate marked the first visible efforts in months to reform the troubled pension system.