After a meeting with Governor Pat Quinn (D), Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R) told reporters he is suspicious that Senate President John Cullerton (D) and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) are intentionally sabotaging passage of a pension reform bill to make way for a new governor.
Illinois’ nearly $100 billion unfunded pension liability is the worst among all 50 states. After Governor Quinn failed to get any reform measures passed in the last legislative session, he is now coming under fire from fellow Democrats across the state.
Cross told reporters, “I’m finding it problematic and troublesome that the two guys with all this power can’t find a way to get this done… The two most powerful guys in the state of Illinois can get anything done.”
“They pass a tax increase in the middle of the night… two guys that passed a pension holiday in the mid-2000s without blinking an eye, can’t get this done? Seriously?” he asked incredulously.
With a Democrat supermajority in both houses and a Democrat governor, Cross’s questions are not unwarranted.
Bill Daley, President Obama’s former Chief of Staff and brother of the still-influential former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, announced this week he is forming an exploratory committee for a run to replace Quinn. He took direct aim at the failure of Springfield to pass pension reform in a campaign ad.
Furthermore, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, daughter of Speaker Madigan, is expected to throw her hat in the ring for governor as well, although she has yet to formally announce any campaign.
When asked directly if he believed Madigan and Cullerton are deliberately conspiring against Quinn because it would benefit Madigan’s daughter’s chances to defeat him, Cross replied, “Yes.”
Governor Quinn has called the general assembly back to Springfield for a special session to resolve the pension crisis. According to ABC Chicago, Cross indicated “he would not be surprised if no bill is passed.”
The unresolved pension crisis is currently costing the taxpayers of the state of Illinois $17 million a day.