The Illinois Senate last tonight overwhelmingly defeated pension reform, rejecting Speaker Michael Madigan’s version of the bil, SB 1. The bill would have been a major overhaul of the state’s heavily indebted government worker pension systems. There is now a serious question whether pension reform will be approved before Friday night’s adjournment deadline.
The measure, whose architect is House Speaker Michael Madigan, mustered only 16 votes in the Senate while 42 voted against it. The bill needed 30 to pass.
The pension reform stalemate is between House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, who are on opposite sides of how best to resolve the issue. Madigan’s plan has the most in cost-savings, but Cullerton questions whether that bill would hold up in court. Cullerton claims his bill would meet court challenges and the more important, the Cullerton bill has strong support from organized labor.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan told the Sun Times that said the Illinois Senate’s failure to advance a pension reform measure he backed showed “a lack of leadership.” When Madigan was asked by the Sun Times what he thought of the vote he initially responded: “not much.”
“The issue was always about cost savings,” Madigan said. “I’m very disappointed.”
Governor Pat Quinn responded quickly to the vote as he released a statement. Quinn made in clear now that he supports the Madigan bill, SB 1.
“The people of Illinois were let down tonight. Every lawmaker in the capitol knows what needs to be done. Senate Bill 1 is comprehensive public pension reform. It has already passed the House of Representatives and it should pass the Senate, too. Failure to send me a comprehensive pension reform bill hurts our economy and costs Illinois taxpayers $17 million a day. Senate Bill 1 gets the job done. I urge the Senate to reconsider tonight’s vote,” said the Governor in his statement.
Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno of Lemont favors the Madigan bill and said that the proposal would save three times the amount that the Cullerton bill would save – $188 billion. “Quite frankly, ladies and gentlemen, it is showtime right now,” Radogno said. “It’s the only bill that will save the pension systems.”
There has been no hint whether there will be a meeting of the minds between Speaker Madigan and President Cullerton.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.