* The pension reform stalemate isn’t about personalities. It’s about policy and it’s also about the traditional conflict between the House and the Senate. Senators don’t like to be pushed around by the House. They never have. So Madigan is right here…
Q: How much of the pension debate is about finding common ground, and how much is about a battle of two big personalities?
A: “You can take that battle about personalities and throw it in the ash can, okay. This is all about correcting a serious fiscal problem for the state of Illinois. We’ve discussed changes in the pension laws for close to four years. We made a serious effort a year ago. It failed, but we’re back again. I think the bill passed by the House is a good solid bill, well thought out. It has a broad base of support, and it ought to be passed by the Senate. And I think they will pass it.”
* More Madigan on the Senate’s passage of its own pension bill…
Q: How will you approach Cullerton’s bill if it comes to the House?
A: “Haven’t decided.”
Q: Any ideas?
A: “No, no ideas.”
Q: Is there a possibility the cost-shift could be amended onto the Cullerton bill?
A: “That’s a thought that really hasn’t been suggested. So we’ll just defer that.”
* Senate approves union-backed pension plan
* Illinois Senate passes pension bill, sets up showdown with House
* Senate passes Cullerton pension bill: In an interview with the Associated Press, the governor said the Madigan bill deserves to be called for a vote in Senate. That’s more than Mr. Quinn has said about the Cullerton bill in the House.
* Illinois Senate OKs union-backed pension deal: But Ron Holmes, a spokesman for Cullerton, said it didn’t appear Madigan’s proposal had enough votes to pass the Senate. He noted four Republicans voted with Democrats on the union-supported bill Thursday, and that a bill similar to Madigan’s failed to get the 30 votes needed for approval when it was before the chamber earlier this year. “If there’s some sort of shift that says we can get to 30 votes (on Madigan’s bill), the Senate president will take that into account,” Holmes said.
* Pension plans’ differences mean state still not close to answer
* A showdown in Springfield?: Bivins said he had been leaning in favor of the Cullerton bill, but he pulled his support after finding out about the opposition of the association representing retired teachers. “I discovered that this one group was never at the table,” the senator said. “They had concerns with the bill’s constitutionality. That was one of my concerns. It was a major mistake not to have them at the table.”
* Sun-Times Editorial: What’s ‘morally’ wrong? Fake pension fix: The Senate bill is the worst kind of reform: It looks like progress and it could be passed off as such by campaigning politicians. But the bill saves relatively little and allows Illinois to continue the outrageous pass-the-buck behavior that got us in trouble in the first place.
* Editorial: Advantage Madigan on pension plans