Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn acted on Wednesday to suspend the pay of state legislators until comprehensive pension reform is enacted, a day after lawmakers failed to deliver a bill to the governor by his self-imposed deadline.
Mr. Quinn issued a line-item veto of a budget bill to suspend legislators' pay and stipends. Mr. Quinn also will not accept his salary from the state until a bill is passed, according to a news release from the governor.
“The Legislature has had many opportunities in these (last) two years to act,” Mr. Quinn said in an audiocast of a press conference Wednesday. “They have failed repeatedly to act and put a bill on my desk for comprehensive pension reform.”
Mr. Quinn outlined a dozen measures he has taken since taking office to facilitate comprehensive pension reform. Illinois has the worst funded pension plans in the country, and credit-rating agencies have continued to downgrade the state since the legislative session adjourned May 31.
A conference committee was formed in June to break the gridlock between competing bills in the state House and state Senate, and Mr. Quinn set a July 9 deadline for a resolution.
Members of the General Assembly make about $68,000 on average a year along with additional stipends.
“Admittedly, this is a drastic measure, but I think it's absolutely necessary to get a wakeup call to members of the General Assembly,” Mr. Quinn said at the press conference.