Bruce Rauner Says “Political Stunts” Won’t Solve Pension Crisis

A press release from GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner:

Rauner Statement on Gov. Quinn Suspending Lawmakers’ Pay

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner issued the following statement regarding Pat Quinn’s plan to suspend lawmakers’ pay:

Bruce Rauner

Bruce Rauner

“This would be a good move by Pat Quinn if it wasn’t just another political stunt.

“The truth is, Quinn, Madigan, and all the political leaders in Springfield have been failing our state for a long time.

“The pension crisis won’t be solved by political stunts, it will be solved by bold leadership that’s willing to take on the powerful interests in Springfield.

“We won’t get that from the crowd in charge there now.

“If you want to enact real pension reform, you need to focus on the folks with the real power – the government union bosses – but the career politicians are all afraid of them.”

Here is Governor Pat Quinn’s press release:

Governor Quinn Suspends Pay to Illinois Representatives and Senators

After General Assembly Fails Yet Again to Pass Comprehensive Pension Reform, Governor Vetoes Out Legislative Salaries and Stipends

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today issued a line-item veto of House Bill 214 to suspend pay for Illinois state legislators.

Since taking office, the governor has been pushing for comprehensive pension reform to resolve the state’s worst-in-the-nation pension crisis.

Today’s action follows years of legislative inertia on pension reform, while the state’s unfunded pension debt grows by millions of dollars a day.

“In this budget, there should be no paychecks for legislators until they get the job done on pension reform,” Governor Quinn said.

“Pension reform is the most critical job for all of us in public office. I cannot in good conscience approve legislation that provides paychecks to legislators who are not doing their job for the taxpayers.”

In addition, Governor Quinn will not accept his salary until the General Assembly sends him a comprehensive pension reform solution.

Illinois’ pension crisis was created over 70 years of fiscal mismanagement by previous governors and legislatures.

Since taking office, Governor Quinn has worked to restore fiscal stability to the state, making the full pension payment each year and reducing the state’s discretionary spending to historic lows.

Governor Quinn’s efforts to enact pension reform include:

  • In May 2009, Governor Quinn established the Pension Modernization Task Force, which laid the foundation for pension reform efforts.
  • In 2010, despite intense opposition, he fought for and signed into law sweeping pension reform for new hires that are saving billions of dollars.
  • In January 2012, the governor convened a legislative pension reform working group to develop a solution.
  • Three months later, he proposed a comprehensive pension reform plan that erased the unfunded liability and worked to pass this legislation during the legislative session.
  • To avoid credit downgrades, Governor Quinn set several deadlines over the past two years for legislators to enact pension reform. Each time the deadline was blown, taxpayers were on the hook for millions of more dollars in pension debt and numerous downgrades to the state’s credit rating. Recently, Illinois’ credit rating was downgraded twice in one week to its lowest point in history, which days ago cost taxpayers an additional $130 million over the life of the bonds, in order to maintain critical infrastructure.
  • The governor has called special sessions to address pension reform.
  • He has released several studies on the dire impact of pension inaction on education, with Illinois currently on track to spend more on pensions than education by 2016.
  • The governor has met at length, numerous times with legislative leaders and lawmakers, and repeatedly asked them to vote for comprehensive pension reform.
  • Governor Quinn launched an online campaign to raise awareness about the pension squeeze and urgent need for action.
  • The governor has rejected piecemeal and insufficient pension bills that did not eliminate the pension debt.
  • During his 2013 State of the State and Budget addresses, the governor again laid out standards for pension reform and throughout the session he pushed for Senate Bill 1, which would have eliminated the unfunded liability.
  • In June 2013, the governor proposed a legislative conference committee as a vehicle to break gridlock between the two chambers. He asked the legislative conference committee to act on a compromise that erases the unfunded liability and provides 100 percent funding for the systems by July 9.

Members of the Illinois General Assembly make $67,836 annually, along with additional stipends for leadership positions, both of which were vetoed out today.

“This is an emergency, the taxpayers of Illinois are waiting and there is no excuse for further legislative delay,” Governor Quinn added. “The taxpayers cannot afford an endless cycle of delays, excuses and more delays.”

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I’d publish a photo of Quinn, but, to the best of my knowledge, he has not been in McHenry County since he took office.


Bruce Rauner Says “Political Stunts” Won’t Solve Pension Crisis — 5 Comments

  1. I agree with Mr. Raunner’s sentiment that political stunts won’t solve our state’s financial woes.

    But, he tells us that we need “bold leadership” and then limp-wristedly spews a talking point about going after “government union bosses.”

    That’s not bold leadership, Bruce. A

    bold leader would say with specificity what union CBAs are getting a hair cut and how much.

    He doesn’t do that, and for good reason–calling out one specific local would guarantee that every single member of that union will actively support his opponents.

    It may be prudent politics, but Bruce shouldn’t conflate his generic platitudes with whatever his conception of “bold leadership” is.

  2. At his Nunda Township appearance, Rauner named unions and leaders.

  3. Well cal, this isn’t a township meeting. It’s a vague press release.

    This is classic IL GOP: Blame Madigan, Quinn and Unions.

    You would think after the whole ‘Fire Madigan’ campaign failed that an individual running for the GOP Governor ticket would offer a new campaign strategy.

    Also, union leader will only go as far as their membership will.

    Remember two years ago the IEA, NEA, and the RTA all said ANY reform would be unconstitutional and violate the agreement the state made.

    Well, fast forward this year and the NEA and IEA have changed their tune conceding that reforms are needed. This came NOT from the top down, but bottom up.

    Mr Rauner, though qualified, sounds like a run of the mill candidate.

    Strike a new narrative instead of clinging to cliché talking points.

  4. Umm, run of the mill ILGOP is to secretly cozzy up with unions and happily take the scraps Madigan offers them.

    Yes, he could have been more specific, but the primary won’t be won with press releases.

  5. Funny how 90% of the population support the Governor’s action.

    After all, you under perform and don’t deliver at any other company, you don’t get a paycheck and most likely won’t have a job.

    Voters in Illinois sent legislatures (on both sides of the aisle) to Springfield to get one thing done…right the financial train wreck.

    Instead the 98th have been distracted by squirrel squirrel!

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