That supposed sense of urgency about quickly enacting pension reforms seems to be slipping away.
*That supposed sense of urgency about quickly enacting pension reforms seems to be slipping away.
When lawmakers failed to enact pension reforms before adjourning at the end of May, Gov. PAT QUINN opted not to immediately call them back into session. Rather, Quinn said he would hold discussions with the four legislative leaders to work out an agreement and then call the General Assembly back to deal with it.
What he emphasized over and over, though, was it had to be done quickly. No stalling, no dodging the issue. The bond-rating agencies were ready to swoop in and wreak further havoc on Illinois’ credit rating. Quinn talked about having something done before the new fiscal year started July 1.
Quinn and the leaders first got together June 6, just days after the session ended. They agreed to get more information about school finances since the major hang-up at this point is the idea of shifting teacher pension costs away from the state and onto local school districts. Probably a good idea to know how much damage that might cause before you go ahead and do it.
It took a couple of weeks, but the information was compiled and the leaders convened again Thursday. The upshot of that meeting was that the discussion should now cover the broader area of school-funding equality. Now they’re supposed to get together again in five weeks, when we’ll probably see some new angle that must the thoroughly explored before pension reforms can be tackled.
If they play their cards right, they can stretch pension reforms beyond the November election, which is what a whole lot of folks think was the object of this from the start.
nIn a way, the pension reform talks mirror the way the state got into this pension mess to begin with.
There is no disagreement that a major reason for the state’s pension problems is that the state didn’t put enough money into the systems, a practice that’s gone on through multiple governors over many years.
Instead, money that could have gone to pensions was used to pay for other state operations. That allowed lawmakers to avoid making tough decisions about cutting other programs.
While the legislative leaders can point fingers at each other (and they are) about who is to blame for the impasse over pension reform, and why, there’s no denying that as long as the impasse persists, they and their members are spared from having to make tough votes on changing pensions that are going to anger a lot of their constituents.
nWhen the state hires a company to produce a magazine touting Illinois’ economic diversity and innovation, where does the contract go?
Well, not to an Illinois company.
A few weeks ago, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity solicited proposals from companies to produce a new magazine for the department. “The Economic Development Magazine will focus upon the diversity and innovation of the Illinois economy, including current economic development news and state programs and services. The magazine will be targeted to CEOs and high-level decision makers,” according to bid documents.
DCEO will pay for the initial run of roughly 5,000 copies, but after that, the company producing it is expected to cover the cost through advertising revenue.
The solicitation didn’t exactly get an overwhelming response. According to the state’s website, just one company made an offer. That was Journal Communications Inc. of Franklin, Tenn.
The company’s website says it has more than 100 clients, including chambers of commerce, state farm bureaus, economic development agencies and convention and visitors bureaus.
The first issue is expected later this year.
Doug Finke can be reached at 788-1527 or email@example.com.