Your NPR news source

Quinn says fixing credit requires reform

SHARE Quinn says fixing credit requires reform

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said the state must get its pension debt under control this year.

At a press conference Tuesday, Quinn said pension reform would be one of his top priorities for the legislative session that starts January 31st.

Last year, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) worked on a bill that would give state workers, teachers and other members of the state’s pensions systems - except police and fire personnel - choices over how to fund their pensions going forward.

One of the options would require them to pay more toward their retirements, a concept that some in the legal community believe is unconstitutional.

But inaction toward pensions gave Moody’s Investors Service a reason last week to downgrade the state’s credit rating to the worst in the country. That means borrowing money will cost Illinois taxpayers more going forward.

“We don’t want that. We want to be on the upgrade,” Quinn said.

Moody’s cited the state’s pension debt as one reason for the downgrade, saying political leaders, “Took no steps to implement lasting solutions.”

Quinn wouldn’t explain exactly how he plans to fix the problem but he blamed 30 years of inaction by the General Assembly and former governors for the debt.

“Our time has come. Our rendezvous with pension reality will come this year,” he said.

He has formed a working group to look at options and says he’ll explain more during his State of the State Address on Feb. 1.

The Latest
A greater share of Chicago area Republicans cast their ballots by mail in March compared to the 2022 primary, but they were still vastly outpaced by Democrats in using a voting system that has become increasingly popular.
As the 2024 presidential election approaches, officials, advocates and experts have expressed concern over misinformation and disinformation about candidates and elections in Chicago, Cook County and Illinois.
In interviews with WBEZ, several decried the length of sentence the 80-year-old could face, while a handful of others said he deserves significant time in prison.

From 1968 to today, volunteers in Chicago aim to connect visitors to their city, and to see some of the convention action themselves
Chicago’s longest-serving alderman Ed Burke will face up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced later this month. WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel shares what prosecutors and Burke’s defense team are requesting from the judge overseeing the case.