Veto session nears, but no closer to pension fix

By Alex Davis |

Published 10/22 2013 01:32PM

Updated 10/22 2013 01:36PM

SPRINGFIELD -- State lawmakers have been trying to find a way to shore up Illinois' pension system, but will they have a solution during veto session? WCIA-3's Alex Davis keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

Lawmakers arrive in Springfield Tuesday. The pension reform committee still hasn't drafted a bill and a key member of that panel does not anticipate the group will reach a compromise by week's end.

With no compromise reached or meeting on the calendar, Representative Elaine Nekritz (D) says the pension reform committee will likely not have a plan to present to the General Assembly this week.

"I think, until we have a bill, the citizenry doesn't think that we really have come very far and I appreciate that because the truth is, until there's something signed into law, and we get it going before the courts, you know, we don't know what that outcome will be. I think all have to demonstrate real good faith action."

Nekritz's remarks come a day after Senate President John Cullerton (D) downplayed the $97-billion pension shortfall, calling it more of a "problem" than a "crisis."

"I really view this quite differently than he does. We are currently spending twenty-two cents of every tax dollar toward the pension payment. That is due to grow under the status quo."

The committee has been working since June to form a solution, but for its first week back, it's empty-handed, making some lawmakers skeptical a deal can be reached.

"From what I'm hearing, I would say the odds are against it."

Still, Nekritz remains optimistic, saying, if not this week, there will still be time.

"Frankly, we're so close, that if we reach that agreement, I think we can still very much get something done during that week of November veto session and I would very much like to see us do that."

Governor Pat Quinn has said he wants lawmakers to address pensions before anything else this fall. Lawmakers will meet this week, take next week off, then return November 5.

The veto session could also bring a vote on tax breaks for ADM. The company is moving its global headquarters out of Decatur and has looked at several possible spots; Chicago is one of them. But, the company is looking for a tax break. Governor Quinn says, his first priority is pension reform.

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