* A buddy of mine with way too much time on his hands forwarded me the following, which traces the history of the governor’s stance on pension reform. I’ve done this before, but this timeline has even more links for your perusal…
* January, 2012 (Bloomington Pantagraph): Quinn aides downplay cost shift. “Just a concept”
* April 25, 2012 (Daily Herald): Quinn says no hurry on cost shift. Says it’s not “essential” to reform.
“We want to deal with that accountability principle, but we’ll do it on a separate track,” Quinn said.
* May 30, 2012 (WBEZ): Quinn backs off cost shift requirement in meeting with legislative leaders as House is positioning a vote.
“I was surprised that the governor disagreed with me on the issue. He agrees with the Republicans,” Madigan said.
* Aug. 7-8, 2012 (Peoria Journal-Star): Quinn and top aides push hard for cost shift, announce special session. Quinn tells Peoria crowd the Peoria schools would be better off with cost shift.
* Aug. 9, 2012 (Illinois Issues): Quinn calls for approval of Nekritz pension proposals with cost shift component.
“It shouldn’t take that long really. It’s something that everybody’s talked about all year,” Quinn said. “We just cannot postpone this matter any longer. It isn’t an election calendar that we’re looking at here, I think some members may be in the legislature. But we’re dealing with the bond rating agencies.” He said that if lawmakers don’t pass pension reform soon, the state may face a downgrade of its credit rating. “If we don’t act, we’re asking for trouble.”
* Nov. 18, 2012 (Chicago Tribune): Quinn launches a “grassroots” campaign called “Thanks in Advance,” featuring the now-famous Squeezy the Pension Python.
* Feb. 6, 2013 (transcript, via governing.com): In his State of the State speech, Quinn declares support for Senate President John Cullerton’s Senate Bill 1 – then a hybrid of the “House plan” and the president’s choice model, with the choice model taking effect if the House plan was declared unconstitutional.
“President Cullerton, thank you for recognizing this, and thank you for your leadership in providing us a path forward through Senate Bill 1, a comprehensive bill that stabilizes our pension systems and fixes the problem.
And thank you, Leader Tom Cross and Representative Elaine Nekritz for working together on a bi-partisan basis to make sure that pension reform is Job One for this General Assembly.
I urge all of you to be part of the solution. And while refinements may come, Senate Bill 1 is the best vehicle to get the job done.”
* Feb. 20, 2013 (Chicago Tribune): Quinn shoots down Rep. Lang’s plan to fix pensions by making tax increase permanent, increasing employee contributions and raising the retirement age. The governor also criticized the plan’s 80 percent funding target.
“We can’t just be meandering along,” Quinn said. He added that lawmakers must move quickly so the state’s economy won’t be “held hostage” by the current “pension cloud.”
* Feb. 27, 2013 (Crain’s Chicago): Quinn endorses Nekritz-sponsored pension reform plan similar to her original but that puts newly hired teachers and university employees in a 401k hybrid.
From Gov. Pat Quinn: “We welcome comprehensive pension reform proposals with bipartisan support that move the ball down the field.”
* Mar. 5, 2013 (FY 14 budget address transcript, via scribd.com): Quinn claims he must cut school funding by $400 million to pay pensions and outlines his qualifications for “comprehensive pension reform.”
“As you know, to make up for that failure, we’ve had to issue two pension obligation notes under my administration. The debt service on these notes will expire in 2020.
Once those notes expire, all of that revenue – nearly $1 billion annually – should be dedicated to the unfunded pension liability.
In addition, employees should adjust their own contributions to their pensions.”
“These adjustments should include reforms to the pension cost of living adjustment. The COLA is currently 3% compounded annually. That’s unsustainable for taxpayers.
For those with higher pensions, the cost of living adjustment should be suspended until the entire pension system achieves better balance.
The basic pension amount that has already been accrued by our current and former employees should not be touched.”
* Mar. 14, 2013 (Daily Herald): Speaking on the original SB 1, Gov. Quinn says, “That’s pretty fair.”
* Mar. 20, 2013 (Chicago Tribune): After the House plan failed in the Senate for the first time, the governor said, “If we do it [pension reform] together, we’ll be better off.”
* May 1, 2013 (Chicago Tribune): A Quinn spokeswoman calls the House plan, Madigan’s new SB 1 “the way forward.”
“This is the way forward,” said Brooke Anderson, spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn, who has promoted several elements in the Madigan plan. “This is the fastest way to pension reform.”
* May 2, 2013 (Springfield State Journal-Register): After the House plan (SB 1) passes the House, Gov. Pat Quinn called the vote “the biggest step to date towards restoring fiscal stability to Illinois.”
“With the passage of this comprehensive pension reform solution, Illinois is closer than ever to addressing a decades-long problem that is plaguing our economy, our bond rating and the future of our children,” Quinn said.
* May 9, 2013 (Chicago Sun-Times): After the Senate passes SB 2404, Quinn says:
“I was very impressed by the fact that the principles I annunciated more than a year ago for comprehensive pension reform were contained in [Madigan’s bill], and that passed the House last week. And I want to make sure [the bill] gets a vote in the Senate by the end of the month,” Quinn told reporters after a ceremony honoring the state’s firefighters in Springfield.
* May 30, 2013 (Reuters): After the Senate votes down the House plan (SB 1), Quinn says, “The people of Illinois were let down tonight.”
* June 6, 2013 (NBC-5 Ward Room):Quinn calls June 19 special session on pensions.
“Will two downgrades in one week be enough to convince the General Assembly that our pension crisis can’t be ignored anymore?” Quinn said in a statement.
* June 10, 2013 (Bloomington Pantagraph): Quinn calls for a return to original SB 1-style compromise.
“I appeal to them to work together to put this priority on my desk,” Quinn said.
* June 14, 2013 (Chicago Tribune): Quinn changes strategies again, turns away from hybrid plan and now calls on Senate to pass House plan it previously voted down.
“The people of Illinois are frustrated with the failure of the legislature to enact a comprehensive public pension reform bill,” Quinn said following a nearly two-hour long meeting with legislative leaders on Friday. “So as governor of Illinois I am prepared to do whatever necessary to get this bill on my desk. But they are the legislature. They have to do their job so I can do mine. Their job is unfinished. And we’re going to keep pushing them and pushing them until they do their job.”