How do state legislators' actions effect your wallet? Ask the Illinois Governor Quinn on Saturday


Governor Pat Quinn during 2013 Pulaski Day ceremonies at the Polish Museum of America

Want to know what the lack of pension reform does to your wallet? Want to know about the lawsuit against Illinois Governor Pat Quinn regarding his withholding legislators paychecks? Ask the Governor yourself at the 1st Ward First office, 2058B N. Western Ave. next to Proco "Joe" Moreno's 1st Ward Office, 2058 N. Western, Sat,, Aug. 17, at 10 a.m. 

Illinois has nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liability because for decades lawmakers have under funded or paid nothing in to the state's five retirement systems. Repeated credit rating downgrades have resulted from these actions and governors from other states have used that situation to entice Illinois residents to go to their states for employment. 

Lack of action by Illinois lawmakers to reform the Illinois pension system prompted a frustrated Quinn, on July 10, to use his line-item veto power regarding budgeting to withhold pay to legislators, including himself, until the crisis is resolved.

Quinn has focused on pension reform since taking office in January 2009. As reported in the PoliticalTicker, Quinn "called Illinois's pension problem the 'worst-in-the-nation,' the product of 70 years of mismanagement by past legislatures and governors. This year alone saw a $1 billion payment to the pension system."  

Though State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka was initially uncertain about the legality about the action, she followed the ruling and has not paid legislators. 

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Illinois Senate President Cullerton filed a lawsuit against the Governor claiming violation of separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. Their point is that future governors could use this tactic with lawmakers to get what they want from those legislators. 

Madigan and Cullerton lawyers, at the hearing before Cook County Judge Neil Cohen on Aug. 6, requested a preliminary injunction allowing Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to cut checks. Among their other requests they are seeking interest on the lost pay. 

Quinn said to reporters, after the hearing, according to the Chicago Tribune, "We had to take dramatic and drastic action because the legislature has had months and months of opportunity to act, and they've failed to act, I think the taxpayers of Illinois know full well what the principle is, you don't get paid if you don't do your job." 



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