Illinois Still Flailing About Trying to Do Something About Pensions

Fresh off failing to force some gun control efforts onto legislation to finally legalize concealed carry in Ilinois, Gov. Pat Quinn is now trying to withhold state legislators' paychecks until they deal with the state’s public pension crisis, which is one of the worst in the country.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

Gov. Pat Quinn said today he is suspending state lawmakers' pay until they come up with a comprehensive solution to the state's public pension mess, a dramatic gesture that is likely to increase tension with the General Assembly and the fellow Democrats who lead it.

"It's important our budget reflect what the people want," Quinn said at a news conference in Chicago, announcing he would use his line-item veto power to alter the state budget.

His attempts to influence the matter, frankly, aren’t going so well:

Lawmakers of both parties Tuesday also rejected yet again his deadline for solving the state's public pension nightmare amid rising criticism that Quinn would rather pressure them through public pronouncements than get involved in the nitty-gritty of legislative negotiations.

The base salaries for Illinois lawmakers are a touch shy of $70,000 a year. The state comptroller is checking to seek if Quinn actually has the legal authority to do what he’s proposing, so he may end up failing yet again. Reporter Rick Pearson does not shy away from describing Quinn’s inelegant management of this crisis:

Quinn has made as many as a dozen pivots on the pension reform issue in a little over a year and twice called lawmakers into special sessions in the last 14 months, but a solution has remained elusive while the public pension debt reached $100 billion.

After lawmakers failed in May to resolve differences in competing bills offered by Madigan and Cullerton, fellow Chicago Democrats, Quinn got them to form a conference committee aimed at reconciling the approaches.

But lawmakers have scoffed at his self-imposed deadlines for brokering a solution, which have  come and gone. They have criticized him for not directly negotiating a compromise.

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  • Paul.||

    Pat Quinn and his Koch funded GOP anti-union agenda can go...what's that? Huh? What'd you say? Quit mumbling in my ear... what'd you say? Pat Quinn is a what? A demo... ooh.

    *quick huddle*

    This press conference has been canceled.

  • gaijin||

    One party to rule them all, One Party to find them,
    One Party to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    Please tell me that Chicago is "the darkness."

  • cavalier973||

    Pat Quinn? Is he Irish-Eskimo? (Esquimaux?)

  • cavalier973||

    There's nothing you can do, governor. You're all doomed. We're all doomed. The inflation beast predicted in Revelations is coming; we just need to lie still and think of England...

  • Invisible Finger||

    Well most of Illinois' other bills go unpaid so I don't see unpaid wages as anything different really.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

    The unions won't take that one lying down. I fully expect some bloodshed before this over.

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    Seconded.

    Illinois unions still fight the Chicago way.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The solution to this problem is the solution to every problem in Illinois: hike parking rates in Chicago again.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Speaking of current Govs - the VA guy is in real legal trouble. McConnell is a slimy bastard that repeatedly stole from taxpayers.

  • cavalier973||

    A friend of yours, then?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    No, he is a conservative.

  • Duke||

    Oh yeah, almost forgot to h/t Miss Buttplug:

    George Soros: "Nazi occupation was the happiest time of my life."

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Liar. That is all you Beckerheads have.

  • Duke||

    Is this you and your blog?: http://tonyryttar.blogspot.com/

  • Duke||

  • Paul.||

    Speaking of current Govs - the VA guy is in real legal trouble. McConnell is a slimy bastard that repeatedly stole from taxpayers.

    Shrike, is this the internet equivalent of pointing and saying, "Look, your shoe's untied" and running away?

  • Generic Stranger||

    Yes it is. Red herrings and misdirection are his only tricks. That and public urination.

  • Rod Flash||

    Good thing we have such avatars of moral fiber waiting in the wings for the next election. Cuccinelli or McAuliffe will certainly put things to right.

    Dammit, I almost was able to write that without puking all over my shoes.

  • Duke||

    “Public" and “pension" are two words that should not go together.

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    May I play?

    Oh, OK... um... er...

    ..."collective" and "bargaining"?
    ..."professional" and "politician"?
    ..."crisis" and "management"?
    ..."administrative" and "law"???

  • ||

    Collective bargaining is great. Except when corporations do it. Then, we call it a "cartel." And it's bad.

  • Almanian!||

    "Canadian"...."culture"

  • Invisible Finger||

    But lawmakers have scoffed at his self-imposed deadlines for brokering a solution, which have come and gone. They have criticized him for not directly negotiating a compromise.

    As much as I loathe Quinn, even he isn't stupid enough to put himself in a position to get blamed for a compromise that won't actually solve anything.

    As long as there are idiots willing to by bonds from GREECE, Illinois isn't going to do a damn thing.

  • ||

    Yeah, that's what really gets me.

    We like to claim that the fiscal house of cards is unsustainable, will all come falling down, etc.

    But will it? Large investment vehicles have shown, repeatedly, that they will always be happy to buy bonds from even insolvement entities. What's going to happen to finally force these things to stop, and when will it happen? I fear inflation hawks are starting to sound like the boy who cried wolf. It does no good if there's hyperinflation 50 years from now; if anyone crows about having predicted it, people will just think, "Oh well, broken clock and all..."

  • ||

    *insolvent

  • SweatingGin||

    Seems like Detroit could cause some damage to the municipal bond market. Right now creditors are being asked to take 10 cents on the dollar, and are fighting it. They aren't paying the pension fund, and that might force bankruptcy.

    Seems like if Detroit and/or a few of those cities in CA manage to get out from under bonds, that could have an impact on that market, then making the pensions more underfunded... More things hit bankruptcy...

    Shit, 2008 all over again. Probably take a bit longer, though.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Right now creditors are being asked to take 10 cents on the dollar, and are fighting it.

    No one who purchased Detroit munis could honestly say they didn't see it coming; all they could honestly say is they couldn't time their exit properly.

    This is true of all of Detroit's creditors, which includes its pensioners.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I'll admit some of the "idiots" buying Greek bonds are taxpayers from other countries.

    That's why I figure it'll work out just like the EU.

    Illinois will get free money, Mississippi and New Mexico will get fucked, and Indiana will have to pony up for it.

  • Sevo||

    Gojira| 7.10.13 @ 7:03PM |#
    "But will it? Large investment vehicles have shown, repeatedly, that they will always be happy to buy bonds from even insolvement entities."

    Jim, that's the 'last toke off the cigar butt' investment; if you get it, the return reflects the risk. If you don't, well, try again...
    Not for me, it takes iron nerves and a whole lot of study.

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    Efficient Markets Hypothesis, anyone?

    ...or do I fail basic econ and finance with that comment?

  • Sevo||

    Not sure whether you intend sarc, but it is efficient market to drag the last value out of a good before it crashes.
    The curve is steep up and down; if you are willing to spend the time to track it, you can find the last toke. But don't bother griping if you're sucking on it after the fire goes out.

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    Stein's Law still holds...

    However, I do agree about the danger of prognostication, particularly when one insists on temporal precision.

  • Sevo||

    Gozer the Gozerian| 7.10.13 @ 9:57PM |#
    "Stein's Law still holds..."

    "In the long run..." (Keynes)

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    I actually agree with the substance of that quote, but not with how it is typically used...

  • Sevo||

    Me too, but bond players are often enough playing musical chairs.
    I certainly find that to be "efficient". I also find it to be scary enough that I have no interest.

  • Gozer the Gozerian||

    I honestly wasn't sure if you were implying a Vernon-Smith style bubble, some kind of risk premium, or something else entirely -- that's why I *asked* about efficient markets.

  • Careless||

    Quinn doesn't have the power, and it's unconstitutional anyway, so good luck with that.

  • Sevo||

    "The state comptroller is checking to seek if Quinn actually has the legal authority to do what he’s proposing,"

    Is there anyone at the fed level who can do the same for Obozo's royal decrees?

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