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Quinn makes last-ditch appeal by touting pension panel idea

Updated: January 8, 2013 2:51PM

SPRINGFIELD-His pension plan dead in the House, Gov. Pat Quinn hoisted what one critic described Tuesday as a "desperate Hail Mary" in a list-ditch bit toward solving the state's $95 billion pension crisis before the clock on the lame-duck legislative session runs out.

Quinn took the highly unusual step of personally going in front of the House Personnel & Pension Committee Tuesday afternoon to push newly-surfaced legislation that would turn over the state's pension conundrum to an appointed, eight-member panel to solve.

It would be like the federal military base closure commission and stocked by appointees made by the four legislative leaders. It would make recommendations on pension changes that could only be disapproved by majorities in the House and Senate.

Under the governor's plan, the panel would have to make a report to the General Assembly by April 30.

"It's something we need to use to move forward in Illinois," Quinn told the committee.

Public-employee unions lined up against the governor's plan, saying it was an unconstitutional abrogation of the Legislature's authority.

"I'd characterize this as a desperate Hail Mary pass," said Michael Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO.

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