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No deal yet

Saturday, Jan 5, 2013

* There was no pension reform deal, but some optimism today when the leaders met with the governor

Coming out of the meeting, which lasted less than two hours, leaders from both parties said they better understood one another’s positions but that there were still many obstacles to producing a proposal to take to lawmakers before the end of the current General Assembly on Wednesday.

“I’m just anxious to pass a bill,” said Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has agreed to drop for now his proposal to shift pension costs for public school teachers from the state to local districts, an idea that has been a major point of disagreement in negotiations and the reason reform efforts collapsed in last spring’s legislative session.

* More Madigan

“There’s no resolution today. We’re going to continue to work throughout the weekend and right through Tuesday of next week to try and move legislation that will solve this funding problem of Illinois pension systems,” Madigan told reporters following the meeting.

* Heh

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago called the meeting “productive” and said work would continue to try to meet the Wednesday deadline, but acknowledged serious differences remain. Asked why he thought progress was made, Madigan joked, “Well, we weren’t throwing punches at each other.” […]

Asked Saturday what the impediments are to reaching a deal, Madigan basically recited each of the proposals. “It’s all the issues that you’ve all heard, and the question is, ‘Can you bring these all together and get a bill that can pass and be signed by the governor?’” the House speaker said.

* But

Following the meeting, Cullerton, in a statement from an aide, said he was “encouraged,” but still urged the House “to follow the Senate’s lead.” Radogno, however, called the meeting only “marginally productive” and noted Democratic leaders were at odds over whether any pension legislation should include changes being sought by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to deal with Chicago’s municipal pensions.

“We will vote on what Democrat leaders decide to put up on the board,” said Radogno, who did not take questions. “And some of the issues, they can’t even decide if Chicago is going to be in or out of this program. So they have thinking to do before we have an opportunity to vote.”

Stay tuned.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


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