(Photo: David Duprey, AP)
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - NewsChannel 5 has reached out to all state representatives and senators in our Illinois viewing area after Gov. Pat Quinn announced Wednesday he will use his veto power to try and suspend state lawmakers' pay.
Here are the responses we've received.
Sen. Dale Righter (R):
"What the governor has done is clearly and blatantly unconstitutional and is a stunt worthy of his imprisoned predecessor Rob Blagojevich."
Sen. Andy Manar (D):
"I understand that the governor is frustrated, we are all frustrated. However, I'm not sure his actions today were constructive. I think the governor would be more effective if he engaged with lawmakers and take an active role with the pension conference committee. This is a difficult issue to tackle but it is better to do it right than to rush. Any pension reform that we pass will impact thousands of families all across the state and we owe it them to do it right the first time."
Sen. Kyle McCarter (R):
"Frustration with lack of real pension reform. He's introduced three bills on pension reform which is simply languish because of this very politically controlled legislative process but I don't see how this stunt controlled by the governor is going to contribute to an environment of compromise. Quinn didn't read the book 'How to Make Friends and Influence People.' Legitimate reform has got to be fair and affordable for taxpayers and public employees. This is a crisis and it's to be taken seriously because it's going to begin to undermine our ability to fund critical services like education and public safety. Additionally if we don't do anything it's going to put a tax burden on the next generation of Illinois residents that could just be unbearable. We need to do something as soon as possible but this attempt is Blagojevich like behavior and we know how that turned out. If the governor was in this together with us he would have cut his own pay and his staffs pay but he didn't and this was good for some publicity if nothing else."
Sen. Wm. Sam McCann (R):
"I am just as frustrated as any other Illinoisan over the way the state is being run...we should look at the state of the state of IL. It's bankrupt so if you use that as a gauge, then no legislator, governor ore constitutional officer for the last 10+ years should have taken any pay. In fact, Pat Quinn should return all money that tax payers have given him. Just left the state capitol, he is ready to go to work, Quinn needs to get out of Chicago and show up at the peoples' house where he's been duly elected to serve and meet him and his fellow legislators and sit down at the table and work with them to find the fix."
A paraphrased statement from a spokesperson for Rep. David Reis (R):
The governor is going to do what he does and more than anything this is a three-way civil war between the speaker, senate president, and governor. This is a failure for the Democrats to lead this state. Looking back to Medicaid reforms, the governor has not followed through on the necessary Medicaid cuts from last year, and if the cuts would have been made then it could have paid for the pension. A lot of finger pointing is going on, but Gov. Quinn needs to point the fingers at his office as well. We don't know what's going on, the speaker hasn't called any meetings, no one has been called back to session, and the governor took action and there are no plans for next week. This is a failure to lead by the majority party.
A paraphrased statement from a spokesperson for Rep. Charles E. Meier (R):
Back in January he proposed a bill that no state elected official should receive a salary until all payments are square. It's crazy that the governor waits until July, but now that he is ready to run for reelection he is doing something and is leading. But where he has he been? Where has the leadership been? Reps have not seen leadership from him, and the state has been controlled by Democratic party for many years. Looking back to the last time Republicans had control, there were not these financial problems. The Democrats made this problem and it's about time someone does something about it instead of using it as a campaign stump. House Bill 171 proposed in January by Rep. Meier said that state officials should feel the pain that taxpayers and businesses do feel.
I believe it is time for the people that have been in power to accept the responsibilities they have done and to get out there and get to work and begin fixing it. The Same leadership has been in the House for more than 25 years, and if you want to be a leader, then now is the time to lead. Let's work on bringing jobs back into the state and stop people from moving out, make it business and family friendly, build on strengths, and move forward. Instead, the state keeps imploding. Many bills have been proposed to increase jobs but they never make it past the first stage and without jobs, how can the state pull itself out of the mess it's created?
A paraphrased statement from a spokesperson for Rep. Mike Bost (R):
Quinn is like a little kid that has had a bad day on the playground and now he is trying to retaliate. Yesterday legislators overrode his bill on concealed carry. At the same time, the conference committee felt they needed more information more things to discuss. They asked the governor to come in and work with them, and he didn't. Gov. Quinn looks a little childish in this. A true leader would actually be in the room working with them. Strongly disagree with not just the paychecks, but his position of not coming and sitting in the rooms and working with the people involved. He has an inability to lead. It's an embarrassment of how Illinois politics are played, but Bost will continue to do his job regardless of anything else.