We applaud Gov. Pat Quinn for ordering Senators back to Springfield to address the state's pensions mess on Aug. 17 so that they can join House members already there.|
But the fact that legislative leaders can't even agree over the session itself doesn't bode well for the reform needed to plug an $83 billion pension hole. Senate President John Cullerton supports meeting to hammer out a deal, but he says the way Gov. Quinn has chosen to do so will cost voters $40,000.
Two points: Lawmakers don't HAVE to ask for expenses to do a job they should already have finished and, even if taxpayers have to pony up the cash, it would be a small price to pay for a deal that will keep the Land of Lincoln from bankruptcy.
There also is reason for concern that, once the House addresses the expulsion of Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, it will use the session to push through a measure already approved in the Senate that addresses just part of the pension problem. That's because so many sticky issues remain, including a plan that would shift the costs of teacher pensions to downstate and suburban schools to local districts. State worker unions also continue to oppose provisions that would affect their cost of living increases and employee health insurance. "It's time to vote," the governor said. Before that can happen, however, there must be something worth voting or this will have been another exercise in futility.
A special session has been set: Good.
But the tough work remains. We urge the governor and legislative leaders to return to the bargaining table to find a solution that fixes all the problem -- not just a third of it.
Moline, IL Details
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