A press release from State Senator Dan Duffy:
On the last night of legislative session in Springfield, when the clock was ticking towards midnight, President Cullerton called his “pension reform” bill for a vote.
President Cullerton’s pension reform bill didn’t address the teacher’s pension problems or other key pension liabilities which are bankrupting the state.
Although Sen. Duffy fully supports pension reforms, he debated the flaws of President Cullerton’s bill on the senate floor.
This brief three minute audio clip illustrates the contentious relationship between President Cullerton and Senator Duffy.
They both have differing opinions regarding how to address the states crippling debt.
Duffy wants to deal with the pension problem now, while Cullerton would like to keep kicking the can down the road.
Below is what Duffy said on the Senate Floor that last night of the session:
Duffy: “Mr. President I haven’t been here as long as some of my esteemed members of the Senate but I’ve been here for four years and I know that things move pretty quickly on the last day of session.
“Is this the only reform, pension reform bill, that we’re going to receive tonight?”
Chair: “President Cullerton.”
Cullerton: “Yes. This is the one I believe, that we have a consensus hopefully of a majority of the Senators.
“The other two systems there still are some very contentious issues that we don’t have an agreement on, so but these two, the General Assembly and the state employees I believe we have an agreement. Hopefully a majority of the Senators would agree.”
Chair: “Senator Duffy.”
Duffy: “To the bill Mr. President.
“You know, after all the years of people discussing this pension problem.”After all the research, the think tanks, the analysis.
“After all the time and energy that went into pension reforms, and this is it?
“You know, this is like trying to put out a forest fire with a spray bottle. Earlier a member mentioned that he didn’t think someone in the chamber got the memo.
“I don’t think the leadership of the Democratic Party got the memo.
“We’re in debt.
“We have 83 billion dollars in unfunded pension liabilities, and this is all that we get.
“We are never going to get out of debt and we are never going to put our place in the state of Illinois and bring jobs and bring people back to the state of Illinois unless we truly try to take a look at our problems in this state.
“Now you’ve tried with Medicaid, and we’ve taken a step forward.
“Now we’re going to take two steps back with this farce of a bill that we call pension reform.
“We need to implement some fair and constitutionally accurate pension reforms.
“We need to cap pensions.
“We need to reduce COLA’s.
“We need to end the double dipping.
“Why is it that we can’t take a look at these low hanging fruit situations like that and cut those out immediately?
“Why is it that we let people in Illinois on pension systems receive multiple pensions from the state of Illinois?
“How hard is it to say pick one pension and go with it?
“So, you know if we’re not going to take a look at the easiest items and reform those then we’re not serious about pension reform.
“I understand this is a political year, I understand that there is an election coming up, but the people of Illinois are very smart.
“They can’t be fooled.
“To try to take this bill, put this out there, and say that now you’ve tackled pension reform, is a complete joke, and the people understand that it’s a farce.
“This is not going near far enough.
“This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg.
“We’re 85 billion dollars in debt and that’s going to continue to compound every day our bond rating is going to continue to drop and people and companies are going to continue to leave the state of Illinois until the leadership on that side of the aisle grabs a ball grabs a mitt, and decides to get in the game.
“You have the leadership.
“You’re in charge.
“You can pass any bill, anytime you want without one vote from this side of the aisle.
“Well now here’s your chance to do something.
“Here’s your chance to lead and put Illinois back on top.
“And you are failing.
“You are passing up that opportunity and you are kicking that can down the road once again.”