Quinn not budging on state lawmaker pay freeze

July 12, 2013 (CHICAGO)

He says the legislators will not be paid until they come up with a plan to solve Illinois' pension debt crisis. The governor told me today that he would be willing to sign a workable pension bill in a matter of seconds.

"This is an emergency. This is a crisis. The taxpayers, up 'til now, have been paying all the money," said Quinn. "Ultimately there's too much excuse, and delay, and deny by the legislators."

Quinn insists that he has been involved since day one in trying to solve the pension mess. Quinn says that for him to approve a plan, he says it must include erasing the $100 billion pension debt liability, providing fair pension payments for retirees, and fully funding the system into the future. That is a tall order, and how it is to be done, he says, is now the unpaid legislature's responsibility.

"The governor is not the legislature. He signs the bills into law, that's my job. I'm ready to do my job. I'll sign that bill 10 seconds after it's passed," said Quinn.

He is still smarting a bit from the defeat this week on the changes he wanted in the state's new concealed carry gun law.

Lawmakers overrode his objections, nine of them, including his desire to forbid guns in establishments serving alcohol.

"I hope in the future we can get the legislature to revisit the issue, especially about guns and alcohol," said Quinn.

On another matter, the governor says there are "serious" questions regarding the actions of the Metra board - the commuter rail authority - relating to the resignation of outgoing CEO, Alex Clifford and his hefty severance package.

Quinn says the state's executive inspector general, Ricardo Meza, is now investigating.

"He is looking into every single thing there, and we gotta get to the bottom of that, get to the truth. Taxpayers and the commuters who pay the fare for the train rides, they are entitled to all the information, the truth, and the inspector general will carry that out," said Quinn.

More of ABC7's Alan Krashesky's interview with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will be shown Sunday morning on NewsViews beginning at 8 a.m.

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