SPRINGFIELD-Senate President John Cullerton issued the following statement on pensions as it looks less and less likely there will be any agreement on a pension-reform package before Friday night's scheduled legislative adjournment:
"When I became Senate President I took an oath to uphold the constitution and I made a promise to make the Senate an open chamber where member legislation gets a fair hearing. Anyone following the issue of pension reform can confirm that I have honored those commitments this session.
I personally have worked to craft reform proposals that might satisfy the constitution and while achieving considerable savings. To date the Senate has worked to pass five different pieces of legislation designed to reform our systems within the confines of the constitution. Not one of these plans was brought to the House floor for a vote.
My preference for adhering to the plain language of the constitution hasn't prevented me from working with other leaders who interpret the pension clause differently. That's been evidenced by the fact that I refused to block votes on opposing pension plans.
I crafted a compromise plan that would have made unilateral cuts the law while including a default constitutional savings plan. I then voted for a second plan and sponsored a third plan to impose unilateral cuts pension benefits.
As Senate President, I could have buried those proposals to satisfy my personal political philosophy. That is not why I am Senate President and that is not how I lead.
The Senate has spoken repeatedly and consistently on pension reform. Still, this issue is not resolved. I am committed to staying at the table until a comprehensive solution is passed into law. I invite Governor Quinn, Speaker Madigan and all leaders of the General Assembly to continue with me.