Updated 02/06/13 – 5:21 p.m.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Governor Pat Quinn has told Illinois lawmakers the state is at a critical juncture, and he’s outlined an ambitious legislative wish list.READ MORE: Two Chicago Police Officers Wounded By Accidental Friendly Fire While Confronting Suspect In Lyons, Police Say
In his annual State of the State address, Quinn lived up to his longtime populist image, calling for a significant hike in the state’s minimum wage, implementation of online voter registration, and a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports the governor’s speech was as much about substance as it was about his upcoming re-election campaign.
The speech was part policy, part politics, laying out the challenges for the state, as well as a candidate up for re-election next year.
In the House chamber, both probable and potential challengers to Quinn’s bid for another term were listening to his speech, as he discussed the state’s massive pension debt.
“We cannot allow our economic recovery to be held hostage by the pension crisis. We simply must act,” Quinn said.
The governor said addressing the state’s skyrocketing pension costs was the primary task for lawmakers to address.
However, he made only a few references to the pension crisis in his 40-minute speech in Springfield.
With nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, Quinn said pension costs would continue to put the squeeze on other state spending unless lawmakers come up with significant pension reforms.