* Gov. Pat Quinn again threatened unspecified “consequences” if the General Assembly doesn’t approve pension reform today…
“It’s time for them to do their job. If they don’t do their job by tomorrow, there will be consequences,” said Gov. Pat Quinn. […]
“They’ve refused to act. We’re not going to take it any longer,” said Gov. Quinn.
We’ve already discussed what one of those consequences might be.
* Meanwhile, yesterday’s testimony by Quinn budget director Jerry Stermer was a complete farce…
During the hearing, members of both parties were stymied by Quinn’s budget chief, Jerry Stermer, who would only offer vague answers when asked about what new plan the governor was prepared to offer up. Stermer also wouldn’t say why the governor rebuffed the committee’s invitation to personally testify at Monday’s meeting.
“Part of the difficulty in our discussion today is you’re answering in a lot of generalities. If the governor were here, it would be difficult for him to just answer in generalities,” state Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), the committee’s chairman, told Stermer.
“So I’m just curious, where is the governor? What’s more important for him today? He was invited to be here,” Raoul said.
Stermer responded that in the letter Raoul sent the administration seeking testimony before the committee, he invited either “the governor or his designee” to appear.
“My letter was to him, so I assume he declined,” Raoul pressed.
“He sent his designee, as requested,” Stermer shot back.
Stermer would not get specific about what sort of plan the governor would like the see come out of the committee process. “The governor’s proposal has been and continues to be: We need a comprehensive solution that stabilizes these systems and enables the systems to actually pay the pensions of the people who have earned them, will erase the unfunded ability, get to 100 percent funding and end the squeeze on the major obligations of state government,” he said. He parroted these components as a response to questions from the committee so many times that his repetition eventually drew laughter from the public audience.
* An extremely important point…
Publicly, Quinn said he wants lawmakers to act on pension reform by July 9. He’s warned of consequences if the deadline isn’t met, but hasn’t specified what those consequences are.
Raoul, though, said Quinn’s office asked pension actuaries to analyze savings on some reform ideas and was told the numbers wouldn’t be available until July 12 at the earliest, three days after the deadline he set for lawmakers to act.
The governor’s people have been negotiating behind the scenes and have come up with their own reform outline (subscribe for more info). which they submitted for actuarial review late last month. And even though the analysis of their own plan won’t be finished until July 12th, Quinn is still sticking to his “consequences” line.
It’s a total spin job, but most of the media hasn’t yet challenged Quinn on it.
Raoul said the group is getting two different messages from Quinn: the sound bites for the media and their own interactions with Stermer. Quinn’s office made some suggestions that actuaries are also working on. The estimates on Quinn’s proposals will not be complete until July 12.
“The reason that I invited the governor was because there was a bit of an inconsistency as to what was being said from his office publicly and the work that Mr. Stermer, the representative of his office, was doing privately. So you want to know which is which. Am I wasting my time with Mr. Stermer and having these discussions? Should I be listening to … Brooke Anderson? Who’s telling the truth here? The only person who could resolve that — you know, the buck stops at the governor.”
* Quinn budget chief scolds pension panel, gets payment in kind
* Pension committee hears higher ed testimony
* Lawmakers continue hunt for pension crisis fix