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Governor Won’t Launch Pension Reform Push Until Next Month

Gov. Pat Quinn. (Credit: Craig Dellimore/WBBM Newsradio)

Gov. Pat Quinn. (Credit: Craig Dellimore/WBBM Newsradio)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Gov. Pat Quinn said Tuesday his grassroots campaign on pension reform is going to have to wait a few weeks, despite his feelings of urgency.

WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Illinois lawmakers have failed to come up with any plan to overhaul the state’s five public employee pension systems, despite an $85 billion pension debt that is growing by more than $12 million a day.

Quinn said the only way to spark action is with public pressure, but he won’t push ahead until the middle of next month.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Craig Dellimore Reports

“Given the fact we’ve got the national Republican convention next week, and the national Democratic convention the following week – and right thereafter we’ve got September 11th – I think I’ll probably wait to announce our plan until the middle part of September,” Quinn said. “It’ll be a good plan, it’ll involve everyday people.”

The governor said he doesn’t want his message being lost amid all the coverage of the presidential conventions.

Quinn said his initiative will be online. He called it “electronic democracy.”

National credit rating agencies have threatened to lower the state’s bond rating again, unless the General Assembly takes major steps to reduce its pension debt.

Quinn has blamed Republicans for the impasse over pension reform, saying they’ve blocked every proposal brought to the table, but top Republicans have said Quinn has failed to come up with a specific plan he wants lawmakers to approve, and have also blamed House Speaker Mike Madigan, claiming he’s allowed pension reform efforts to die to appease labor unions that would see reduced benefits.