They may not be doing it in public, but members of a special legislative committee formed to tackle Illinois' underfunded pension systems say they've made progress. The committee met again yesterday, but mostly to express their concerns that Governor Pat Quinn is setting their efforts back. Pat Quinn's typical of a Governor, or any politician really - he likes to take credit for getting things done. Even when it's something he had little to do with.
But in this case, he's deserving. It was at Quinn's insistence that legislators formed a special, bipartisan committee, half Representatives, half Senators. A setup that even Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington, who's running to replace Quinn, says is working:
"I do believe in all of my involvement over the last couple years ... that we have come as close in a bipartisan, bicameral way amongst ourselves of getting toward a solution."
But legislators say it could all be undermined if Quinn makes good on his vague threat of "consequences" if they don't get a final package to his desk by today's end. There's speculation Quinn has held off signing major parts of the budget because he'll use it as punishment. Committee members continually warned Quinn's staff that that sort of interference would hinder their efforts.
But they also slammed the governor for his LACK of involvement otherwise. Including for sending a top aide to Monday's hearing instead of attending himself. An aide to Quinn told them because it's a legislative committee, it's not the governor's place to participate.
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