First Day of Work for Q-C Lawmakers - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

First Day of Work for Q-C Lawmakers

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It's a "fresh" start in Springfield tonight as the new Illinois General Assembly is sworn in. One of the big issues the legislature faces is finding a solution for the state's ninety-six billion dollar pension deficit. Last night, lawmakers ended the lame-duck session without a reform plan, and now they're starting over. There is no timeline or deadline in place to get pension reform passed. Before this latest session ended, lawmakers had a plan before them that included higher contributions from employees and reduced benefits for retirees. With this new assembly, the process of finding a solution for the pension problem will start over.

While Governor Pat Quinn says the state's credit rating will likely be downgraded, State Senator Mike Jacobs says the newly elected members will be working on a solutions. He says there is a lot of optimism and hope among the new legislature as they prepare to tackle these issues.

This optimism is seconded by newly elected 71st District Representative Mike Smiddy of Cordova. Smiddy says, "I believe that with some of the new fresh faces that we have...we will have a new type of perspective on this issue, along with some of the folks who have been here for quite awhile." Along with Smiddy and Jacobs, the Quad Cities area will be represented by 72nd District Representative Pat Verschoore of Milan.