Quinn calls special session to focus on pensions - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Quinn calls special session to focus on pensions

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A spokeswoman for Gov. Quinn said Thursday night "there's plenty of time" for feuding legislators to find common ground on pension reform before a special session of the General Assembly starts on June 19. Quinn called the special session as Quinn as Illinois's credit rating took another tumble this week.  But some fear a messy special session could do even more damage.

The governor has not been able to talk directly to House Speaker Mike Madigan since the adjournment last week of the disastrously unproductive spring session. Pat Quinn's spokeswoman said, "The governor's frankly sick of these power games.  The governor's not the loser here, it's the people of Illinois."

She said Quinn had talked to Madigan's chief of staff and the other legislative leaders, though, and that all declared their desire to pass public employee pension reform. The State Senate minority leader is pessimistic citing a power struggle among Democrats.

"There is a huge fight amongst the top Democrats in this state," said State Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont). "As everybody knows, they have supermajorities in both chambers. They have a governor who said he would sign whatever comes to his desk. And they have not been able to get this thing done. So, until they come together on what they can put votes on, I don't think anything happens."

Radogno isn't the only one expecting the General Assembly's June 19 special session to be basically a rerun of last summer's special session.  Back then, legislators did nothing about the state's worst-in the nation unfunded government employee pension liability. The only difference now is that the problem's grown worse by billions of dollars.

Unable to do much about it themselves, Illinois's beleaguered Republicans hope voters are paying attention.

"The focus is clearly on the fact that the Democrats have all the power in the state. And they can't accomplish a darned thing," Radogno said.

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