CHICAGO (CBS) –– Gov. Pat Quinn says he’s confident talks involving state officials and union leaders could lead to reforms that will pull Illinois out of its pension mess.
His comments to CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine came 24 hours after Illinois Senate President John Cullerton said changing workers’ pensions in midstream can only come through labor negotiations.READ MORE: Annette Nance-Holt Confirmed As Chicago's First Black Female Fire Commissioner
Lawmakers audibly groaned Wednesday as Quinn laid out his budget plan and warned them they should be prepared to stay the summer in Springfield.
Quinn says he and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan are now on the same page when it comes to pension reform. The governor set an April 17 deadline to come up with a plan.
“The system is going to be strengthened and stabilized, and everyone has an interest in that, especially the employees,” Quinn said Thursday. “You can’t have a pension system that goes bust, and we won’t permit that to happen in Illinois.”
“Everybody is going to get a haircut. No one will get scalped – that’s the basic concept,” the governor added.
The Governor wouldn’t predict what the haircut will look like.READ MORE: Red Cross Seeking Donations As Blood Shortage Worsens
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is an ally in Quinn’s battle to reform pensions, even though the two have previously disagreed on casino expansion. They agree more than they disagree on most things, Quinn says.
“We’re a team. He’s been here numerous times,” the governor told Levine.
Quinn has even helped Emanuel with his “language problem.” The Chicago mayor was well-known for using expletives in his private discussions.
“He’s been lectured a time or two — not by me but by others – to improve his vocabulary,” Quinn said, smiling.
Said Levine: “I heard he was lectured by you, too, at one point.”MORE NEWS: CTU: Layoffs Will Hit Hardest Schools On South, West Sides
“He might have said a bad word, and I said, ‘It’s not a good idea. We want to teach our kids right,’” Quinn responded. “He’s improving.”