Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka wants the new General Assembly to get serious about reforming the state pension system. (WJBC file photo)
By Zach Dietmeier
SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois General Assembly lame duck session has ended without a pension resolution.
The House adjourned just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday with no agreements reached. With Gov. Pat Quinn failing to get pension reform done, State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said the new General Assembly will have to start from scratch.
"To do it badly, we would have had a bad result and it would have been unconstitutional," Topinka said. "We will all be back, so why not just declare that it's not done at this time? There's a new legislature starting on Wednesday, so just start at that point."
Topinka told WJBC's Jim Fitzpatrick she didn't think rushing to find a solution was the answer. Ultimately, Illinois lawmakers must focus in on solving the $96 billion underfunding debacle.
"It's just all bad, and nobody can get anything passed, and no one wants to agree, so here we sit," Topinka said. "Ultimately, the legislature has got to sit down and get the job done."
Efforts in the House to enact last-minute reforms were to no avail. A pension solution now may not come until at least April. Lawmakers felt an eight-member commission proposed by Gov. Quinn was ultimately illegal, and the new legislature will likely start back on a solution immediately.
Topinka was suprised with how little lame duck lawmakers did during their final session in Springfield.
"The pensions are going nowhere, gay marriage went nowhere, and then medical marijuana went nowhere, and gambling is off on the side, going nowhere," Topinka said. "I don't know what they are doing with their time, but nothing really came out of the legislature."
Zach Dietmeier can be reached at email@example.com.