It has been three weeks since Gov. Pat Quinn said lawmakers would not be paid until they reformed the state’s pension system. But it didn’t hit home until Thursday, the first scheduled payday for legislators since then. The conference committee charged with working out a compromise has been making progress, but it missed a deadline Quinn imposed.
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“They’re working hard, but I think it’s important to have an outcome,” he said. “This has to be done, and that’s why I suspended (actually vetoed) pay for legislators – and why I suspended my own pay.” Of course, his own sacrifice is voluntary. State Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville) says it’s a dangerous precedent: “What if the issue were something the public did not agree with?” he said.
A farmer, Sullivan said he would be OK for a while, as would his fellow senator, businessman Bill Brady (R-Bloomington). “There’s a number of members of the General Assembly that are dependent” on the legislative salary as their only income, Brady said. “These are full-time legislators, and they’re dependent. But I’ll be fine.”