SPRINGFIELD–State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) blasted Democrat leaders in Springfield Friday after a bi-partisan, comprehensive pension reform proposal which passed the House was killed by Democrats in the Senate. It leaves the legislature deeply divided on pension reform with less than 24 hours remaining in the spring legislative session.
Senate Bill 1, which was supported by Speaker Madigan, failed in the Senate Thursday night. Without action before Friday’s scheduled adjournment, Illinois’ $100 billion unfunded pension liability will continue to grow by $17 million dollars a day.
Syverson says Senate President John Cullerton, House Speaker Michael Madigan, and Governor Pat Quinn are to blame for the dysfunction. The three have been united in higher spending and increased taxes. Syverson says when the three had a chance to pass responsible reforms, they supported vastly different bills and draw lines in the sand.
“While the House and Senate have differences in pension reform the Governor has yet to weigh in with support on either of the plans,” said Senator Syverson. “What is sad is that if these leaders had heeded my warnings and warnings of others a decade ago, the solution would've been much less painful. If they would've even addressed it in January the problem would've been nearly $3 billion easier to fix. It is not fair to retirees, active workers, or taxpayers to put this problem off any longer.
Politicians love the spending part of the job when they can act like Santa Claus, but when it comes time to being responsible stewards, they're nowhere to be found. Failure to fix this problem will lead to further cuts in education, human service programs, road funding, law enforcement, and other programs that will be crowded out by pension payments that are increasing by over $1 billion a year. The legislature should not leave until this is resolved,” said Syverson.