Gov. Pat Quinn Friday confirmed he will meet with legislative leaders next week to plot the next step toward pension restructuring, the main piece of unfinished business from the legislative session which ended Thursday night. Lawmakers can expect to return to Springfield sometime this summer, he said, and he believes agreement is not that far off: “
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I really feel that all four leaders feel as I do that this is imperative, that it must be done, and it must be done in a way that is right for Illinois today and for thirty years to come. So we need to make sure that we have everyone singing out of that hymn book.” Attempts to correct a more than $80 billion unfunded liability in public pension systems failed to get a vote in the House, either with or without a controversial shift of the funding burden onto local school districts. A common feature of all of the possibilities being discussed is that state workers would have to choose between a higher cost-of-living adjustment or continued participation in the state healthcare system. Quinn did not commit to whether he would sign or veto the gambling expansion package the Senate passed Thursday night. It includes five new casinos – for Chicago, the north suburbs, the south suburbs, Rockford, and Danville – and slot machines at horse tracks. Although the sponsor of the bill, State Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan) promised to run a follow-up bill addressing Quinn’s concerns about ethics and oversight, Quinn refused to answer questions about whether he approves of either the bill or of Link’s follow-up.