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Pension Committee Won’t Meet Governor’s Reform Deadline

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Governor Pat Quinn and legislature appear to be on a collision course tonight.

The Governor is holding fast to next Tuesday’s deadline for a pension reform bill; the lawmakers are saying there’s no way they can do it.

They gathered for their second public hearing with the clock ticking, claiming the deadline set by the Governor was now impossible to meet. Because the compromise the committee is working toward then has to go to financial experts or actuaries.

“It takes the actuaries 10 days to two weeks to two and a half weeks to actually do a full analysis,” said State Rep. Elaine Nekritz.

According to Senator Kwame Raoul, the conference committee chairman, the Governor himself complicated matters by offering new suggestions just yesterday. Raoul said that they cannot responsibly pass a bill by the deadline.

Too bad, a spokesman for the Governor said, the deadline stands, the people of Illinois are tired of excuses.

Still, the framework of the pension reform compromise does seem to be taking shape: It includes changes to retirees cost of living allowances or COLA, employee contributions to retirement accounts, and the retirement age.
But while both Democratic and Republican members of the committee agreed the deadline would not be met, but seemed anxious to avoid a confrontation.

Asked if there is any indication the Governor will be willing to extend the deadline, Republican State Rep. Bill Brady said, “I think we’ll have discussions with the governor’s office about that. I don’t want to see anything done to harm the process in that period so we may even discuss that with the governor.

The Governor doesn’t want to hear it. He believes he’s given them all the information and all the financial analysis they need, and tonight is blasting their lack of urgency in solving a problem costing taxpayers $5 million a day.

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