The politicians who have tried and so far failed to restructure public pensions in Illinois are mindful that the public has little patience. The public wants this done, and Gov. Pat Quinn places the blame on lawmakers.

“The people of Illinois want the Legislature to get the job done. They have failed to do their job up to now, but I’m confident that with pushing and prodding from all of us, the governor and all the people, they will get the job done,” he said.

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Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) says the issue is complicated in ways that some members of the public do not understand:

  •   The state pays for the pensions of public school teachers and staff at state universities and community colleges, though the state doesn’t determine what those pensions will be.
  •   The Illinois Constitution contains explicit language protecting pensions already granted
  •   The pension beneficiaries, who have faithfully paid into the systems over the years, are being asked to make sacrifices when they did nothing wrong.

On Friday, lawmakers agreed to call a bill for a vote next week in the Senate that has passed the House, but which has failed in the Senate before and probably will again. They scrapped the idea of melding two competing restructuring plans, with the hope that at least one would be upheld in court.