Reporting Jay Levine
CHICAGO (CBS) — Eight days after being appointed to try to reach a compromise on pension reform, the House-Senate Conference committee met as a group for the first time today.
Governor Pat Quinn set a July 9 deadline for committee members to reach a compromise on pension reform.
But if today is any indication of how quickly things will get done, committee members don’t believe July 9 is a realistic goal.
Illinois Senator Matt Murphy said, “Hearing all over again what the same witnesses we’ve heard for two years have to say probably doesn’t move that ball forward.”
Governor Quinn’s reaction: “Instead of complaining about the deadline, get the work done.”
And Ty Fahner was there to voice his disappointment with legislative inaction. “The state’s financial failings are so well known they’ve even inspired a name on Wall Street called ‘the Illinois effect,’” he said.
His Civic Committee was pushing radical pension reform when no one else saw the ticking time bomb.
But committee members said compromising won’t be easy.
Illinois Representative Elaine Nekritz said, “Coming up with a compromise is not going to be the simple matter of clicking a switch and say here it is we’re all going to vote for it. We’re going to have to work at that.”
But members said the plan is to reach a compromise within weeks…not months and not years.
In the meantime, taxpayers are already feeling the pain of unfunded pensions–on the hook for another extra 130 million dollars in interest on bonds sold yesterday, because of our dismal pension punished credit rating.