Leaders set to hash out pension reform this week in Chicago
SPRINGFIELD — Legislative leaders are planning to meet with Gov. Pat Quinn in Chicago this week after a failed attempt to rein in the cost of the state’s public pension systems.
Quinn said earlier this year pension reform must happen this spring, and said he would call lawmakers back to Springfield if they failed to pass substantive changes.
Late Thursday, Quinn issued a news release saying he would call a meeting with the four legislative leaders to salvage a plan scuttled in the last days of the spring session.
Rikeesha Phelon, spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton, said the following leaders will probably meet Wednesday in Chicago: Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago; House Republican Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego; Cullerton, D-Chicago; and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont.
Quinn’s office, which is coordinating the meeting, didn’t respond to questions to confirm its date.
Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Radogno, said it’s extremely unlikely the Legislature would return to Springfield before the leaders and Quinn had a chance to sit down and hash something out.
“I think he’d want a leaders’ meeting first, unless he wants to continue to be like Rod,” Schuh said, referring to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who had a protracted battle with the Legislature that involved many summer session days.
The public pension impasse last week came after Republicans refused to vote for a plan that would slowly shift the responsibility for teachers’ and college employees’ pensions from the state to their local employers.
Republicans said the shift would equate to a property tax increases and higher tuition.
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