Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is in the midst of what he calls a tremendous, epic battle. The state’s $100 billion pension shortfall is worsening each day.
“Just delaying, dilly-dallying, meandering and not getting the job done, that’s not good for legislators,” he said during a stop in Rock Island on Monday.
Gov. Quinn wants a compromise deal from Springfield by July 9.
“Our state, our economy is being held back by this pension cloud,” he told the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.
Groups like the chamber are well aware of the stakes. It’s tough on business. The longer it drags out, the stalemate also jeopardizes residents and disrupts government.
“He certainly understands that this is a make-or-break time for the state of Illinois,” said Tara Barney, the chamber’s chief executive officer.
Without a deal, Illinois stands to keep losing $5 million a day. And those numbers will just grow. Without reforms, the pension shortfall could top more than $102 billion next year.
“The bottom line is that public pension reform is the real challenge to helping our economy,” Gov. Quinn said.
That’s putting pressure on Illinois lawmakers to complete a deal in coming days. But that deadline might not be enough.
“This is a time for people to find a place to compromise,” Barney said.
Whatever the case, Illinois can’t afford any more delays. The meter is running, and time is running out.
Gov. Quinn said that Illinois lawmakers must take a page from the nation’s founding fathers, rising to the occasion to solve problems.
“They get paid to work,” Gov. Quinn concluded. “And if they’re not doing the job, there’s consequences.”
Gov. Quinn said that he would elaborate on those consequences after July 9. Consequences for indecision as the nation’s worst pension debt keeps growing.