Quinn lauds biz backing for pension, Medicaid reform
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Gov. Pat Quinn's office Wednesday released an impressive list of businesses and biz groups that he says are standing with him in the fight to pass Medicaid and pension reforms before the Legislature's scheduled May 31 adjournment.
But there are at least a couple of notable omissions. And one key group is actively lobbying against the guv.
Among those with the governor in his proposals to prop up Medicaid with $2.7 billion in cuts and new revenues, and to require government workers to pay more and/or accept lesser pensions, are the Chicagoland Chamber Commerce, Illinois Business Roundtable, Illinois Farm Bureau, Metropolitan Planning Council and a good dozen downstate chambers.
Among businesses that support Mr. Quinn's proposal, he said, are Ford Motor Co., CenterPoint Properties, New World Ventures, General Electric and Mitsubishi Motors.
The Quinn proposals "are necessary to improve the business climate of our state by improving Illinois' fiscal health and by building a platform for sustainable economic growth," Mitsubishi North American Chief Operating Officer Jerry Berwanger said in the Quinn statement.
But the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club — which has yapped longer and louder about pension debt than any other group — isn't on the list. It's said to be waiting to see final language in the pension bill.
And the Illinois Retail Merchants Association is opposing the Medicaid plan because it would reduce pharmacists' Medicaid reimbursement 2.7 percent — even though IRMA negotiated a 6 percent cut earlier this year that it thought would insulate its members from being whacked further.
Look for IRMA's concerns to get taken care of.
But as I previously reported, the Medicaid plan also is under attack from conservatives who don't like a $1-a-pack cigarette tax that's in the plan, and who oppose a provision designed to help Cook County pay its charity health costs.
Best sense now is that something on Medicaid will pass, because the state has no real choice.
Pension is a little tougher, with a very strong possibility that whatever passes will apply only to state of Illinois plans, not Chicago or Cook County retirement systems.