Some lawmakers frustrated by Illinois pension reform inaction

November 6, 2013 (SPRINGFIELD, Ill.)

There were lawmakers at the Capitol who were not so excited with Tuesday's vote to legalize same sex marriage.

"The financial picture for Illinois didn't get any better yesterday with the passage of gay marriage," said Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine).

Senator Murphy described himself as "frustrated" that the fall session did not include consideration of an actual bill to resolve the state's $100 billion unfunded pension liability.

"We've been working really hard to try to change that, to get to resolution. But we've heard that before. I know but the fact is that we are," said State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D- Des Plaines).

Nekritz-- as well as Murphy-- is on the conference committee empaneled last June that so far has failed to publicly recommend a measure to erase the pension debt that reportedly grows by $5 million a day.

"People are starting to read the writing on the wall a little bit and you're starting to see a movement toward reform of these systems," said State Rep. Mike Zalewski, (D-Chicago).

"We're never giving up on that. We've got to keep on pushing," said Gov. Pat Quinn.

Governor Pat Quinn, who wanted a pension reform bill passed this week, watched and cheered as marriage equality became the fall session headline.

"It was quite an inspiring day for all of America," said Gov. Quinn.

"Whether you agree with gay marriage or not, this governor spent tenfold the amount of time on gay marriage as he has on pension reform," said State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington).

Murphy has not given up hope.

"I still think we can have a vote before the end of the year. That's what I hope will happen," said Sen. Murphy.

There's already talk about the first week of December, and more talk about January when a pension reform bill could pass with a simple majority. But keep in mind, it's an issue lawmakers here have talked about for years.

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