September 20, 2012 (Peoria, IL)—As most of you know, no action was taken on pension reform during the Illinois General Assembly’s special session held in mid-August. Earlier this month, House Speaker Michael Madigan hinted that a pension-reform deal could surface during a possible lame-duck legislative session next January. Madigan also for the first time suggested a package might pass with only Democratic votes.
The GOP counterparts warn that this scenario could lead to a big property tax hike for downstate and suburban residents and they have expressed concern that this will mean democrats will push this issue through without proper detail to attention similar to what happened with the state’s largest income tax increase two years ago.
While there is nothing illegal about Speaker Madigan’s plan, the idea of passing pension reform without any GOP support doesn’t sit well with state Republicans.
The Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce President, Roberta Parks, says “Pension reform is critical for the financial future of our state. It impacts the people who work for the state, school districts, community colleges and universities. There is no easy solution. The gridlock that exists in the State has to stop and we have to have a bipartisan effort to address pension reform. The Chamber has strong thoughts regarding some parts of the solution but we are always willing to listen to other ideas. That is what we expect from ALL of our legislators and the Governor.”