Governor Pat Quinn went months without meeting with members of the special legislative committee formed to draft a new pension plan. But he has ramped up efforts this month. It was Quinn's idea to form a conference committee, to bridge differences between the House and Senate over how to reduce Illinois' $100 billion pension debt, but the ten members of that panel say other than phone calls welcoming them to the committee, he's been absent from their talks. That's lead to criticisms like this, from Representative Jil Tracy, a Republican from Quincy:
"It's a financial crisis like we've never seen in Illinois before. We want the governor engaged."
The governor's office says Quinn is now taking a more hands on approach. So far he's met with four Democratic legislators on the committee, and will soon talk with some of the panel's Republican members. A spokesman also confirms Quinn met recently with the legislative leaders about pensions. With the conference committee still unable to reach a consensus, the leaders may hold the key to what happens to Illinois' retirement systems.
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