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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says House Speaker Michael Madigan's pension-reform plan deserves a Senate vote.

The Democratic governor said the proposal is comprehensive.

Illinois has nearly $100 billion in pension debt because of years of state underfunding.

Senate President John Cullerton has a different idea he plans to call for a vote Thursday afternoon. Public employee unions back that proposal.

The House approved the Madigan bill last week. It would require employees to pay 2 percent more toward retirement benefits. It would reduce annual cost-of-living increases for retirees and raise the retirement age for workers under 45.

Cullerton's proposal would offer employees a choice between health insurance or cost-of-living increases. He says it would survive a court challenge.

Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says income tax revenue for 2013 will top forecasts by $1.3 billion. He says he'll put the money toward the billions the state owes in unpaid bills.

The governor's office said Tuesday the money was a one-time windfall resulting from businesses and individuals selling assets or taking early dividends in anticipation of higher federal tax rates.

Quinn says the money is welcome but a one-time bump in revenue will not help fix the problem in the long run.

Illinois owes billions to businesses, charities and local governments performing some of the state's most essential services. The problem adds to the state's huge financial mess, which includes a soaring public pension crisis.

Quinn said Tuesday the focus must be on "restoring Illinois to full fiscal responsibility."

 

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says the Illinois House should act quickly to approve a pension-reform package because the state's economy depends on it.

House Speaker Michael Madigan's plan to increase employee contributions and trim benefits is scheduled for a House vote Thursday.

Years of state underfunding of pension accounts has left Illinois $97 billion short of covering future obligations.

The Democratic governor says the liability grows by $17 million a day. He says Illinois' economy won't fully recover until reform is approved.

But union representatives told a House committee Wednesday the opposite is true. Illinois Education Association President Cinda Klickna says cutting pension benefits takes away money retirees spend in local communities and especially hits teachers who don't have Social Security benefits.

 

Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is holding fast to his position that legislation calling for the carrying of concealed weapons should allow city governments to decide their own standards.

   But the Democratic governor's preference goes against lawmakers, who have given such ideas a chilly reception.

   The General Assembly has until June 9 to end Illinois' last-in-the-nation ban on concealed carry because of a federal appeals court ruling.

   Quinn wants larger cities such as Chicago to be able to set up their own standards for gun-toting citizens.

   Gun-rights advocates say that would create a confusing "patchwork" of laws and put gun owners in jeopardy.

   A plan in the Senate would give Chicago-area police the ability to deny gun permits. Gun owners and Republicans are cool to the idea.

 

Published in Local News

   ILLINOIS (AP) - Another governor is trying to lure away Illinois companies.

   Florida Gov. Rick Scott sent a letter to Illinois' top 100 companies this week asking them to buy a "one way" ticket to Florida. The Republican says Florida is undergoing "an incredible economic turnaround" and touts the state's credit ratings.

   Scott also scrutinizes Illinois' high taxes, including a 2011 income tax increase.

   His letter comes the same week Texas Gov. Rick Perry was in Chicago trying to poach companies. Perry says he wants to spark a competition between the states and has criticized Illinois' nearly $100 billion in pension debt.

   Governors from Indiana, Wisconsin and New Jersey have made similar attempts.

   Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has dismissed them as publicity attempts and says Illinois is a great place to do business.

 
Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says Texas Gov. Rick Perry's visit to try to entice businesses away from Illinois is merely "an escapade" and Illinois can compete with any state.

The Chicago Democrat took some jabs at Perry, who's in Illinois through Tuesday to lure jobs back to his home state.

On Tuesday, Quinn called the Texas Republican a "big talker" and pointed out his previous presidential campaign gaffes. Quinn says Perry didn't do well in the presidential campaign and he won't do well in Illinois.

Both governors were scheduled to speak Tuesday at a bioscience convention in Chicago.

A day earlier, Perry issued a challenge to Quinn saying his visit was about sparking competition between the states. Perry says Illinois' nearly $100 billion in pension debt is bad for business.

Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has issued an emergency declaration following the flooding and severe weather affecting areas across Illinois.

   Quinn issued the declaration yesterday. The action will allow the state to access federal resources including generators, pump systems sandbags and additional funds. The declaration is a step below a disaster emergency declaration.

   Quinn says the American Red Cross has opened two shelters in north central Illinois. One is in Oglesby and another in Roanoke.

   Earlier yesterday, Quinn initiated the State Incident Response Center to monitor flooding and severe weather in portions of Illinois and help coordinate assistance local authorities may need.

   The governor is encouraging people affected by the weather to go online for real time updates on the storms.

 
Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan raised more than $800,000 in political funds compared to $565,000 for Gov. Pat Quinn in the first three months of the year.

Madigan is a potential Democratic primary challenger to Quinn. Madigan says she has not yet decided whether to take on the governor next spring.

Campaign finance reports filed with the state Elections Board show Madigan spent $77,000 during the first quarter and had $4.4 million in the bank on April 1. Quinn spent $119,000 and had $1.5 million on hand.

Among possible Republican candidates, businessman Bruce Rauner's (ROW'-nerz) exploratory committee raised more than $1 million and already has taken in $91,000 in large donations since April 1.

GOP Treasurer Dan Rutherford (ROO'-ther-ferd) raised $300,000 and had $740,000 in the bank.

 

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he has reached out to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency after explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed two and injured many others.

He says nothing suggests there any connections to Illinois or Chicago. But the Chicago Democrat says Illinois must be on the alert.

Quinn characterized the explosions as "a potential terrorist incident" but said more facts need to come out.

Federal officials say two bombs exploded near the finish line of the marathon on Monday. Two people died and.

Quinn says he has directed all state public safety agencies, including Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Military Affairs and the State Fire Marshal to be ready to assist and remain vigilant. He also asks Illinoisans to report anything suspicious.

Published in Local News

   Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says there's nothing wrong with waiting until the last minute to file tax returns. The Chicago Democrat admitted to reporters yesterday that in the past he's been guilty of coming right up against the deadline.  

   Monday is that deadline -- the final day for Americans to file their 2012 tax returns.

   Quinn says it's no fun to pay taxes, but it's the price of living in a democracy.  

   The governor has released his tax returns in years past and he said yesterday that he plans to do so again soon.

Published in Local News
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