Quinn Wants to Suspend Lawmakers' Pay

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ILLINOIS (WIFR) – State legislators didn’t make Governor Quinn’s deadline to tackle the pension crisis, so Quinn is suspending their pay until they come up with a solution. Now, local lawmakers are reacting to Quinn’s bold move and questioning if it’s legal.

“I could not in good conscience approve the paychecks of legislators, if they didn’t address squarely a pension reform measure that they could put on my desk.”

Now State Legislators may not get paid next month if they don’t fix the pension crisis, and soon. Yet some lawmakers say suspending their pay won’t help.

“Until the governor’s serious about talking about pensions, I don’t think we’re going to get there.”

As a member of the pension committee state Senator Dave Syverson says Quinn needs to focus more on coming up with a solution and less on whether lawmakers get paid.

“We had a meeting yesterday on pensions and the governor didn’t even show up. He couldn’t walk up to flights of stairs from his office to even meet to discuss the issue,” Syverson said.

Lawmakers like Syverson make more than $67,000 a year and extra stipends if they play a leadership role. Members of the general assembly get paid the first of each month, so the pay cut won’t hurt them until mid-August. Quinn says he won’t take a paycheck himself until an agreement is reached. Carol Portman of the Taxpayer’s federation of Illinois says Quinn’s actions could be drawing attention to the wrong thing.

“Unfortunately, it’s distracting towards the primary issue which is just there needs to be pension reform and it does need to happen sooner rather than later and I don’t know if this is really moving that forward.”

Until lawmaker compromise on a measure and send it to Quinn’s desk, there’s no moving forward.

CHICAGO (AP) -- Gov. Pat Quinn is using his veto power to try and suspend state lawmakers' pay because of their inaction on Illinois' pension crisis.

The Chicago Democrat is announcing the news Wednesday. He says there'll be no paychecks for legislators until they get the job done.

The Associated Press obtained details of the plan before Wednesday's announcement.

Quinn's using his line-item veto power in a budget bill that's on his desk. Lawmakers have to approve his changes.

The bill gives the state comptroller the ability to issue paychecks to state employees. Quinn's announcement comes a day after he said there'd be consequences for lawmakers who didn't send him a pension overhaul plan by Tuesday's deadline.

The state has nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liability, the worst of any state.

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