Quinn calls for pension reform during State of State Address

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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn delivers 2013 State of the State

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn doesn’t mince words when it comes to the state of the state. He says there’s no mistake that Illinois is at a critical juncture.

“Do we want to stop the progress and watch our economic recovery stall?” he asked.

During his State of the State Address in Springfield on Wednesday, he disclosed plans to raise the minimum wage, support same sex marriage and ban the sale of assault weapons.

But all of that is tempered by financial crisis. Illinois faces the worst pension problem in the country. Governor Quinn says it’s short-changing children’s education and the economy.

“This is a choice about whether we’ll make the tough decisions necessary to balance our budget by reforming our public pension systems, or whether we will let our jobs, our safety and our schools be squeezed out by skyrocketing pension costs.”

Gov. Quinn showcased progress with growing jobs, improving health care and education. But the state’s huge debt remains a major obstacle to hurdle.

“We have a tall task ahead of us,” he said. “This is no small issue. And doing what’s hard isn’t always what’s popular at the moment. But we must remember that hard is not impossible.”

The speech sets the tone for his upcoming budget message. That will contrast the state’s wants with needs.

“We are not a state, we are not a people that shies away from hard things,” he concluded.

Challenging times that call on history and hard work to help Illinois recover and prosper.