Quinn: solve state pension crisis before schools’

Monday, July 22, 2013

SPRINGFIELD-Characterizing the financial plight facing Chicago’s Public Schools as “an emergency,” Gov. Pat Quinn Friday remained insistent that lawmakers must first solve Illinois’ nearly $100 billion pension crisis before the city schools’ pension mess gets attention at the Capitol.
“I think you have to deal at the state level. It’s the biggest. Get that done. But I certainly am willing to work with folks locally in Chicago and elsewhere to resolve any challenges they have,” Quinn told reporters when asked if the state’s pension woes still take higher priority than Chicago’s.
Quinn said this week’s dramatic financial developments in Detroit, where officials in that cash-strapped city that has no way to pay $16 billion in bills took steps to declare bankruptcy, could be a precursor to things here without action on pensions in Springfield.
“We saw what happened in Detroit yesterday,” Quinn said. “It’s important that we pay attention here. This is serious. And it is an emergency. I really feel in this coming month it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get the Legislature to get this bill on my desk.”