After the governor ripped lawmakers Wednesday afternoon for their inaction on Illinois’ pension crisis, some of them agreed. House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) said the General Assembly is up to the governor’s challenge – examining some of the pension problems and possible remedies piece by piece, which they did last week and will do again Thursday. Madigan said some of the members of the legislature have been late to realize the depth of the problem. “He made a point of saying, it’s time to vote,” said Madigan.
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House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) agrees: “I think, for a variety of reasons, this hasn’t happened. I think some of it is self-preservation, to be blunt.” The governor’s harsh tone to lawmakers is not that big a deal to Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago): “I think he’s just highlighting the fact that he’s presenting a budget message, and $963 million is out the door (for pensions) before we – and he had to cut education by $300 million, so he’s frustrated, and he wants us to do something.” “I think a lot of what he proposed is designed to jack up the pressure to get pension reform done,” says Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), “which is not a bad strategy … actually, we need the pressure, and it needs to happen.”