"This has to be year of pension reform, once and for all in our state of Illinois," Quinn said Monday.
With Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie at his side, the governor signed a bill that creates the new position of Illinois actuary to oversee the state's five pension funds. The actuary will see to it that state lawmakers get accurate information concerning fund contributions, investments and projected returns to insure their stability moving forward.
"All this does is to say let's have a second pair of eyes have a look over the shoulder of the actuaries for the system to make sure that their assumptions are sound, to make sure that their numbers are right," Rep. Currie said.
But the appointment of an actuary will not satisfy bond rating agencies, which are still waiting for the general assembly to pass legislation to reduce the state's projected $83 billion pension obligation.
Quinn -- who wanted a pension reform measure passed before July -- indicated that talks were still stalled over the question of how to shift costs of suburban and downstate teacher pensions to their local school districts. The governor says Republican fears that property taxes would increase are unfounded if the cost shift happened over many years.
"Say over 12 years or 15 years, there is an imperceptible impact on property taxes. There is no impact on property taxes," Gov. Quinn said.
Other possible reforms include raising the retirement age and capping cost-of-living increases for retirees.
Each day that goes by without the state passing a pension reform package, the more likely it is that the bond rating agencies will act to downgrade the state's credit again.