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Answer the question, please

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Rick Pearson asked Gov. Pat Quinn late Friday about the implications of the governor’s veto of legislative salaries. Quinn essentially dodged it

Asked by reporters if his veto would set a precedent for governors to withhold pay from lawmakers over other issues, as critics have alleged, Quinn said the unfunded pension liability was a “crucial, crying issue in our state.”

“It’s urgent. It’s an emergency. It’s been going on for decades. That’s why I acted as I did,” he said.

Asked if he also considered legalizing same-sex marriage, which he supports, an emergency, Quinn said: “I think it’s a very important issue, but on the issue of pensions, that deals directly with state finances, where the legislature has had much time to act, they have failed to put a bill on my desk that’s necessary for the common good.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the governor has exploited a very dangerous loophole. Whatever happens in the court case, going forward the Legislature ought to pass a continuing appropriations bill on their salaries so nobody can pull this stunt again.

Also, many kudos to Rick for trying to pin the governor down. More like this, please.


  1. - Bill White - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:31 am:

    Self contradiction . . .

    === “It’s urgent. It’s an emergency. It’s been going on for decades.” ===

    If this were a high school debate, Quinn would be eliminated on the spot

  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    Amen, A-Men!

    My fear has been from the beginning, “Who is to say any future governor won’t extort the Co-Equal branch of the Legislature in other state matters, even as a 1st move, not as a “last” move Quinn keeps trumpeting”.

    Feet to the Fire. It is still about all the tomorrows and all the other moves after too.

  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    Quinn’s dodging the question because the obvious answer is that if the governor can get away with blackmail now on this issue, future governors can get away with it in on other issues.

    And that possibility should be unacceptable to everyone.

  4. - VanillaMan - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:42 am:

    Over the past decade Illinois has had two spectacularly craptastic governors from the same political party as the leadership in the General Assembly. Consequently, this makes these incompetent governors irrelevant to the legislative process. As a matter if fact, the GA was forced to impeach and bury one of the two. So, it should not be a surprise that the legislature has no need for a governor at this time, and the current incompetent in Office finds himself without power.

    Quinn has nothing except these idiot stunts and press conferences to make any news. He’s as shut out of state government as though he is a third party wing-nut no one wants to deal with.

    It seems Illinois has reached a point where the party in power no longer respects any constitutional guidelines or compromise within itself, and now just let’s a bureaucracy run the state.

  5. - Norseman - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:45 am:

    This is a typical dodge for Quinn. Dodging questions is one of the few things this guy is good at.

  6. - siriusly - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:46 am:

    Despite all the “news” coverage on this one, that is the most important question that has yet to be answered. Great job for asking it Mr. Pearson!

  7. - otoh - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:49 am:

    Once the camel’s nose is in the tent…

    This should be rebuffed.

  8. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:52 am:

    Pat the Piker is terrible with OPM. The fact that legislators and AFSCME had to go to court just to get paid says it all. Is there no one else in the Democratic Party who can run against this guy?

  9. - Wait a minute - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    I have two friends who are engaged and want to get married this year. In a few months. But they can’t, because the State of Illinois doesn’t allow same-sex marriage.

    The pension systems are going to run out of money in what, 10 years?

    But the pensions are an emergency and same-sex marriage is not. Because people’s lives and families are not as important as Quinn’s political ambitions, and same-sex marriage doesn’t excite the Trib editorial board the way pension reform does.

  10. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 11:02 am:

    “Over the past decade Illinois has had two spectacularly craptastic governors from the same political party as the leadership in the General Assembly.”
    And this is to imply St. JimEdgar and Ryan were national trendsetters?

    Anyway governors are not likely to learn until the legislature zeros out their budget until they get their way on something

    How about this one.
    “Hey PQ, how about a straight answer on what should be a gaming bill you will sign.”
    PQ:”well it must be fair and give the Pritzker’s every dime they need.”
    LEGIS: “OK you get zero till we get a better answer.”
    THat might move this play out the playbook

  11. - roscoe tom - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 11:04 am:

    Quinn knew the situation all along and the fact is he can’t lead on anything other that the pouplist B.S. he ahs been pushing for years. He won’t sit down with the legislature because he like always can never contribute anything meaningful other than bombast about truth, justice and the Amercian way.

  12. - MikeMacD - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 11:10 am:

    “…going forward the Legislature ought to pass a continuing appropriations bill on their salaries…”

    As well as the other constitutionally protected salaries.

    This would relieve the Comptroller from relying on court orders to issue warrants for these kinds of payments. Such as the Governor waiting 60 days to sign or the GA omitting an item or two.

  13. - A guy... - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 11:21 am:

    It’s a dangerous precedent for sure, but a gamble that has thus far paid off in the court of public opinion. I’ve said from the beginning that the GA should close this loophole and my guess is that the legislation is already written to do so. I’m sure there’d be a veto proof majority, possibly unanimous to uphold the language.

  14. - AFSCME Steward - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 11:33 am:

    With Quinn’s history of clarity, even if he answered we still probably know what his answer is.

    “Quinn essentially dodged it…”

  15. - AFSCME Steward - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 11:34 am:

    With Quinn’s history of clarity, even if he answered we still probably wouldn’t know what his answer is.

    Bad typing

  16. - K3_Spfld_Chi - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 12:06 pm:

    PQ goes into the ER and says that he has an emergency as he has severe tooth pain. The nurse asks how long have you had the pain, PQ says 10 years

  17. - Cook County Commoner - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    The Governor’s veto was troublesome, not only from a constitutional viewpoint. A state governor should enjoy a bully pulpit, if he or she is effective. Our Governor’s veto of legislative salaries underscored that both the Illinois Governor and Assembly are ineffective and unable/unwilling to solve Illinois’ dreadful fiscal issues.

  18. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    This tactic could be used against every faction of either party’s base. If used regularly we could see ourselves no better off than the baffoons in DC. I don’t care what you say about IL, I prefer our incompetence to DC’s any day.

  19. - VanillaMan - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 1:42 pm:

    “Over the past decade”
    This means over the past ten years.

    Attacking 20th Century governors for problems occurring in the 21st is pretty pathetic.

    It’s almost 2014. Try to hold the current officeholder responsible for current messes.

  20. - Demoralized - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 2:08 pm:


    I have no idea what you just said or what it has to do with all the tea in China.

    And I think 10 years is still in this century if my math is correct.


    In any event, I think it’s important that the Courts nipped this in the bud. You cannot have a Governor holding the paychecks of legislators hostage. It totally flies in the face of the Constitutional separation of the branches of government. Not to mention is just a juvenile act on the part of the Governor.

  21. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    VMan, lol, was there some Millennial significance to the year 2000?

    Did The Rapture occur? I missed it. Must have been watching football on New Year’s Day. Did we all start fresh — the issues of the past resolved?

    The “crisis” of pension underfunding has ebbed and flowed since the 1940s.

    Yet no pensioneer has ever missed a check, and the sky has not fallen.

    Don’t believe the arithmetically challenged hysterics of Tribbies who are scared of Big Numbers, or the Civvie cynics who wish to hose public employees for their own selfish benefit.

    The “crisis” is manageable without sticking it to old teachers, cops, firemen and state employees who played by the rules and did their bits.

  22. - Mokenavince - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 2:59 pm:

    Quinn is looking quite good, at least he tried something. His Democratic opponents are all gone, and he’s looking better than what the Republicans have to offer.
    If he wins even Madigan will have to show him some respect.
    If the Dems figure out this pension mess and it looks like they will. Pat will be back this time with more than just a dopey look on his face.

  23. - Anon. - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 4:08 pm:

    ==If he wins even Madigan will have to show him some respect.==


  24. - sd - Tuesday, Oct 1, 13 @ 11:39 am:

    So if it’s unconstitutional to withhold legislators paychecks, shouldn’t it be unconstitutional to reduce retirees benefits??? Seems like there is a big deal over delaying legislative pay (didn’t Madigan lead the charge?) but they take a ‘yes we can’ attitude (Madigan again) when it comes to permanently stripping retirement benefits.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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