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Quinn defends himself

Friday, Jan 11, 2013

* Gov. Pat Quinn talked briefly to the Associated Press this week about pension reform

He has been widely praised for good intentions and efforts, but now it could be more months without movement and no promise of a solution on his signature issue as Republicans — and even a few fellow Democrats — begin angling to challenge him in the 2014 governor’s race.

Quinn just shrugged it off Wednesday as a new General Assembly was sworn in, effectively restarting the process.
“You have to have deadlines in life,” he said. “Sometimes you make those deadlines, and sometimes you have to keep working, keep running. That’s what long distance is all about. You never stop working on something until you get to the finish line.”

* Quinn also sat down with ABC7’s Charles Thomas

“When they pounded the gavel down and said we’re finished for this session of the legislature, you know that was the end for the time being,” Quinn said.

As we met this afternoon in the Quinn’s Chicago office, he was disappointed but not discouraged. […]

“We came close, but we’re not there yet. So you keep on pushing. That’s what governors do,” he said. […]

Former U.S. Commerce Secretary and White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley has publicly questioned Illinois’ leadership and says he’s considering a primary run to replace Quinn.

“There are politicians who stand on the sidelines and point fingers. They make excuses and alibis, I’m not one of them,” Quinn said. “I never walk away from a tough battle. I stay in there and fight to the end to get the job done.”

* The governor expressed optimism and counseled patience to the Illinois Radio Network

Gov. Pat Quinn is ready to resume tackling the old problems in the new General Assembly, with pension restructuring again chief among them. Quinn says his experience as a cross-country runner in high school taught him something about persistence and patience.

“(Senate) President (John) Cullerton indicated Senate Bill 1 will be a pension reform measure. I talked to his staff, and they indicated it would cover the four major systems,” Quinn said. “They also indicated it would not include what is called the ‘school shift,’ so if we can get a bipartisan majority out of the Senate on that bill, I’m optimistic; then, we’ll get it over to the House, where we have, obviously, a lot of work still to do.”

Quinn said he is disappointed the 97th General Assembly adjourned Tuesday without passing a pension bill. In fact, the House did not even call it for a vote. He’s aware the House and Senate do not always agree on legislation, and he said he is not too put out by Cullerton’s comments that Quinn is a good guy but not a very good governor, especially when it comes to passing legislation. “I’m not a member of the legislature,” Quinn said. “I can advocate for ideas and bills.”


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymour - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 8:59 am:

    Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

  2. - OneMan - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 9:01 am:

    I stay in there and fight to the end to get the job done.”

    Having a team develop Squeezy is not fighting Governor…

    Using kids as a backdrop is not fighting Governor…

    Causing consequences for inaction would have been fighting and virtually every time you had the chance to do that, you decided not to.

  3. - Pinker - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 9:03 am:

    I bet it was a lot easier to be governor when the state had enough money and credit to keep everyone happy.

    One wonders how ’statuesque’ Jim Thompson would seem if he were governor today…

  4. - East Central Illinois - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 9:07 am:

    “Quinn says his experience as a cross-country runner in high school taught him something about persistence and patience” . . . Runners have a finish line; hopefully Quinn crosses his finish line at the next primary.

  5. - Anonymour - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 9:10 am:

    Into the blue again; after the money’s gone.

  6. - tubbfan - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 9:11 am:

    Quinn knows where the finish line is, but he doesn’t have a good map to lead him there. . .

  7. - langhorne - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 9:20 am:

    “we came close”? thats delusional. one bill, covering two systems, passed the senate. the house seems to be embracing a very different approach of questionable constitutionality, and refused for months to call the (likely more constitutional?) bill that passed. well, by that logic the bears came close to winning the superbowl this year, too.

  8. - langhorne - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 9:22 am:

    did that super-commission idea count as getting close?

  9. - western illinois - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 9:23 am:

    I have seen no polling that shows the public is chomping at the bit for pension cuts. Education is where most people interact with state gov and medicaid and roads are probably next. Most polls show the same order of funding priority … for rich districts the state payment is the pension

  10. - Cook County Commoner - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 9:52 am:

    I don’t know what anyone expected the governor to do. I cannot think of another issue that so directly impacts the financial well-being of every politician and government employee in Illinois. The totality of the executive, legislative and judicial branches have skin in the game, and their self interest says “No Changes.” How our system of government is going to resolve this before it is too late will be interesting. Absent a cosmic intervention from a superior being, I guess the best we can expect is foot dragging and minor tinkering which the pols will hold out as a dramatic fix in hopes the private sector mopes will buy it.

  11. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 10:06 am:

    Cook County Commoner @ 9:52 am said:

    My guess is mostly stall hoping the economy recovers and tax revenue growth lessens the percentage the pension funding takes.

    The real question is which is going to go up faster, the ramp payments or the revenues? Resetting the ramp might help with that.

  12. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 10:10 am:


    Wasn’t there a “balloon” in the ramp?

  13. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 10:11 am:

    Ugh. The problem with Charles Thomas’ reporting is he gets so obsessed with the details and specifics. I wish he could just explain stuff to the common working man in 25 words or less.

  14. - Shemp - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 10:23 am:

    Not a fan of Quinn by any means, but I will hardly blame him for the ineptitude of the G.A. Am I to really believe any other governor could have gotten the G.A. to do anything?

  15. - draznnl - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    Pinker @ 9:03 a.m. said: One wonders how ’statuesque’ Jim Thompson would seem if he were governor today…
    Am I wrong or was it not during Big Jim’s tenure that the state starting skipping its contributions to the pension funds?

  16. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 11:11 am:

    The state has never made a full contribution to the pension system. It just became more of a conscious art form during the Thompson years.

  17. - Artamist - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 11:40 am:

    Leave the retires out of the bill..

  18. - Old and In the Way - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 11:59 am:

    JRT was neither the first Republican Governor to skip payments nor the last. The pension funding fiasco is structural in nature and in 1946 the funding level of all the pension funds averaged just 19%. Blame which ever party you want but the uncomfortable and inconvenient truth is that the blame falls on the taxpayers of Illinois. Unless the legislature is wiling to take on the structural funding issue whatever they do to diminish pension will just be a short term fix

  19. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 12:01 pm:

    RNUG, I believe in percentage terms, the pension payments are likely to grow at a faster rate than the expected growth in State revenue.
    “Resetting the ramp” or redoing the funding formula is a pay me now or pay me later proposition. Any reduction in payments in the beginning years have to be made up (with interest) on the back end.
    Cinci, there is not a balloon payment in the current funding program. A number of folks historically and inaccurately called the end of the 15-year ramp period “the balloon.”

  20. - Old and In the Way - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 12:05 pm:

    Sorry….seems that the message was sent before I completed it. Where was I……..

    Unless the legislature is willing to take on the structural funding issue whatever they do will be a short term fix. What is being proposed is not reform, let’s call it what it is…….screwing the employees and pensioners. We don’t want to admit that the Governor, who ever it is, and the legislature are only a part of the problem.

    We have seen the enemy and he is us! -pogo

  21. - geronimo - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 1:15 pm:

    Old and in the Way

    You couldn’t be more correct. Many want all kinds of services but they don’t want to pay for them. We’ve all gotten freebies in this state, courtesy of the pension fund credit card. The bill has come due and it’s time to generate the revenue to pay back what was taken. All of these points have been made over and over again and our legislature simply will not acknowledge that this is a revenue problem, not a pension problem! If there had been adequate revenue for the past 40 years, the pension funds wouldn’t have been used to pay for services. This is nothing new. All along the way, the choice was to either not provide the service AKA saying NO or raising the revenue. Conveniently, pensioners money was just too tempting to not grab. The constituional clause was put into the constitution for exactly the reason we are dealing with now. They knew back then it would just be way too tempting. And they were right. Time for all to pay back the money, not punish those who dedicated themselves to the citizens of ILlinois and did nothing to deserve this punishment.

  22. - Meaningless - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 1:17 pm:

    Even though our state legislature and the governor bear the primary legal authority for creating legislation and in this case pension “reform” as they call it, nothing of any real substance will happen unless the “stakeholders” are a legitimate part of the solution. This is especially true today due to the technology advances in communications made over the last couple of decades.

  23. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 1:51 pm:

    Thx, AA.

  24. - jericho - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    funny thing is, if thompson or edgar were still governor we wouldn’t be in the position that these last few knuckle heads have put us in.

  25. - Very Old Soil - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 3:34 pm:

    I ran cross country versus the governor back in the day. Don’t remember that he was very good at that either. GO RAMBLERS

  26. - concern1 - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 3:55 pm:

    I agree with the comment…leave the retirees out of it period!!!!

  27. - Liberty_First - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 4:20 pm:

    Illinois is not a big spender compared to other states. It would help if Quinn and the Democrats would put out some information about comparisons of taxes and spending and tell us how we compare to other states.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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