The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

February 6, 2013

Text of Gov. Quinn's State of the State speech

Quinn says pension issue 'squeezing out' education, public safety

(Continued)

SPRINGFIELD —

So we changed it. We passed a strong ethics code for office holders and public employees.

For the first time in history, we enacted campaign contribution limits.

And we gave the people of Illinois the ability to use the power of petition to recall a corrupt governor.

But our constant mission to restore integrity to Illinois government cannot end here. We have more work to do.

In 1976, I led a petition drive to ban conflict of interest voting in the General Assembly. 635,158 voters signed this petition the greatest number of signatures ever gathered on a single petition in Illinois history.

Silence about conflict of interest voting wasn’t our Illinois then, and it’s not our Illinois now. We can do better.

Conflicts of interest are regulated all over: from the Illinois Supreme Court, to right here in the Executive Branch.

And more than 30 states have banned conflict of interest voting.

Illinois should too.

With this reform, we can keep moving towards a state government that always puts the people first, and a government that tackles the tough issues, no matter how hard.

And that brings us back to the toughest of issues: the public pension system which, left unreformed, is squeezing out education, public safety, and other vital services to the tune of $17 million a day.

In our communities, that squeeze looks like Crete-Monee District 201 eliminating art, music and PE classes for grade schoolers.

In DuPage High School District 88, it looks like larger class sizes and less attention for students.

And across Illinois, it looks like credit downgrades and fewer roads and bridges repaired.

This is not our Illinois.

In the last four years, we have created jobs, invested in our public works, and enacted major reforms.

We’ve helped our auto industry recover, with Chrysler in Belvidere going from 200 jobs when I first took office to more than 4,500 jobs today.

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