It’s Elvis’ birthday.
But Elvis is dead. And Pat Quinn isn’t looking so good either.
In honor, Governor Quinn put on his best hound dog look.
I just finished watching a live stream of one-term Quinn doing a press conference on the pension fight.
He looked and sounded pathetic.
If he talks to the legislators like he spoke to the press, I can only imagine their reaction. What a condescending schmuck.
Plus he had that hound dog face of a guy who knew he had lost again. This from the Governor who had announced with great fanfare to the press on Friday that he and Madigan had a deal. Madigan made no such claims.
If you read Crain’s Greg Hinz in Crain’s this morning, he thinks the pension bills are DOA.
You can expect lots of scurrying and maneuvering overnight before the House adjourns at 11 a.m. But even if those missing votes are found – one source told me that only 25 of the 64 House Democrats are sure “yes” votes – sponsors will have to get it by Senate President John Cullerton, who agrees with labor unions that it would be unconstitutional for the state to unilaterally end benefits and has been pursuing a alternate approach to guarantee health-insurance to retirees in exchange for reduced pensions.
So did the Sun-Times.
Even with the 6-3 vote by the House Personnel & Pensions Committee, it was clear afterward that backers hadn’t assembled anywhere close to the 60 votes they need to get the plan out of the House in the time remaining in the lame-duck legislative session.
Jim Broadway of the Illinois School Policy Update seemed not so sure.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves again. The bills face some obstacles. Legislators from Chicago object to the fact that the bills do not require downstate school districts to pay the employers’ share of pension contributions. Some legislators are said not to grasp “the urgency” of passing reform at this time. Some are just “in lockstep” with unions.
What about “the urgency”? The 98th General Assembly convenes on Wednesday with a clean slate? Why not just let the incoming legislators handle this chore? That would make sense, except that it would give time for opponents to campaign against the “reform.” The urgency is driven by tactics for passing a bill, not about the bill’s substance.
That is why these bills seem likely to pass today or, perhaps, early tomorrow morning. Do the bills not conform to requirements of the Illinois Constitution? Not conform? These bills laugh in the face of the Illinois Constitution, which unambiguously asserts:
“Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”
What part of “diminish” do the legislators not understand?
So don’t count your money til the dealin’s done. Keep calling.