Quinn urges pension reform, higher minimum wage in State of the State

Quinn urges pension reform, higher minimum wage in State of the State

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Pat Quinn again urged lawmakers to pass pension reform this year, but also asked them to increase the state's minimum wage, make voter registration available online, allow voters to participate in primary elections without declaring party affiliation and ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Quinn also announced plans for an Illinois Manufacturing Lab at the University of Illinois.

Here is audio of the governor's address from WDWS.

"In the last three years manufacturing has been one of our state's leading growth sectors, creating nearly 40,000 new jobs. We're at the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing and we need to stay there.

"That's why we're partnering with the University of Illinois and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications to create an advanced manufacturing hub where companies big and small can come to learn and use the world's most sophisticated tools and software."

Quinn's State of the State address, delivered to a joint session of the Legislature at noon today, also included calling for increasing the state minimum wage from the current $8.25 an hour to $10 an hour over the next four years.

He also asked lawmakers to pass a comprehensive plan including "gun safety legislation, mental health care and violence prevention strategies," including banning the sale of "assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines."

The governor also urged legislators to pass what he called "a marriage equality" law in Illinois. A bill allowing gay marriage in the state cleared a Senate committee Tuesday.

Also, Quinn said "Illinois should join 15 other states in making voter registration available online," and suggested that Illinois should have a law allowing voters "to participate in primary elections without having to publicly declare their party affiliation."

Although it was not the overarching theme of his speech, several times Quinn mentioned the need to fix Illinois' underfunded pension system, concluding that "we cannot allow our economic recovery to be held hostage by the pension crisis.

"We simply must act. Our vision for our Illinois cannot be fully realized without pension reform. This problem cannot be delayed, deferred or delegated to the next session ... to the next generation."

He called Senate President John Cullerton's pension reform legislation "the best vehicle to get the job done."

Cullerton's bill, SB 1, gives government employees a choice between reduced retirement benefits with state-subsidized health care, or keeping their current benefits without health care.


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Mastadon-27 wrote on February 06, 2013 at 4:02 pm

"That's why we're partnering with the University of Illinois and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications to create an advanced manufacturing hub where companies big and small can come to learn and use the world's most sophisticated tools and software."

The tools he is referring to are robots.  No human worker jobs, just robots!  Humans get paid a wage for their labor.  How many humans are needed to repair or replace a business robots, and how often?

Ask yourself if you have the skills to repair any of these new tools/robots and what wages/benefits will the business pay you for your skills?

Bulldogmojo wrote on February 06, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Not sure about the answer to those tech support positions but I can tell you how much money robots spend in the economy... $0

svirpridon wrote on February 06, 2013 at 5:02 pm

How about the state keep their side of the contract I signed when I accepted under-industry-average-wages when I worked for them? Alternately, I guess taking some of the benefits I'm due is okay if they're willing to compensate me with pay due, plus interest.

Not sorry I left and went private. Only sorry I didn't do it sooner.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 06, 2013 at 5:02 pm

SB 1313 passed last May.  It requires state employee retirees to pay an unknown portion of their earned health care insurance.  Now; Cullerton's plan states that the retirees will have to choose between keeping their cost of living adjustment, or keeping any healthcare insurance with the unknown, required retiree payment.  In addition, they promise to pay the employer's portion into the pension systems even though they skipped doing it in the past.  They promised before, and promised before....  They will keep coming back until the state owes nothing toward the unpaid debt; and the retirees paid portion is stolen.  The courts will decide that SB 1313 violates the State of Illinois Constitution.  After that, the pension reform legislation will be found unconstitutional for the same reasons.

The State of Pennsylvania recently passed pension reform.  It changed the current employees to a 401k plan.  It kept the current employees up to date pension plan in place with it being switched to the 401k plan after a certain date.  It did not steal from the retirees pensions.  Of course, that was in another state; not Illinois where pork barrel spending requires the theft of the employee's money.

Quinn is campaigning for re-election.  Only a buffoon like Mr. Fuddles would believe that he could be re-elected after his corrupt, deceptive actions during his first administration.  The democratic candidate for election in 2014 will be either Lisa Madigan, or Bill Daley.  The republican candidate will be either Rutherford, or Topinka.  Yeah, not much choice which ever way it goes.  Corruption marches on in Illinois.

Bulldogmojo wrote on February 06, 2013 at 11:02 pm

The biggest obsacle to pension reform other than the criminal element who diverted the funds are the ones tasked to fix it is the way they are trying to do it as a crash program. If they try to divert the entire cost on the short term to the tax payers the illinois economy will grind to a halt like Greece because that will remove $100 billion out of the economy. Not a smart idea. They need to rebuild the fund over a prolonged period of time but there is no political will for that.

The only solution I see is the IRS revoking our exemption, everyone go back to paying social security, the IRS seizes the funds on account and establishes a graded repayment structure for the missing funds to help pay for the social security retirement payments going forward. Illinois can't have it both ways having a bankrupted pension fund and no social security obligations too. Can't happen

This is still a robbery in progress. The state still can't account for what they did with the 50% state tax increase and they want us to trust them with rebuilding a $100 billion dollar pension obligation? No way! Jimmy Hoffa would be freaked out by what these charlatans have done. At least Hoffa was a crook who could actually make a profit.