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Governor Quinn Talks Grant Money, Pensions, Lawmakers' Pay

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made a stop in the River City Saturday to announce funding for central Illinois infrastructure. We also asked him about the state's pension crisis and his issue with paying legislatures.
PEORIA – More than $5 million in state funding is making its way to central Illinois. The money is part of a plan to get more people back to work.

Governor Pat Quinn made the announcement along with local leaders in the River City Saturday morning. The $5.3 million grant comes from the Illinois Jobs Now! program.

It will be used to fix city, township and county infrastructure. The funds are in addition to the annual motor fuel tax revenue the area is expected to get this year.

Leader said the funding will tackle transportation needs, create jobs and stimulate the economy. Gov. Quinn said, “We think it's a very important investment in jobs and in helping local communities with their local streets. It's important that we have a focus on transportation in Illinois."

Among the 10 central Illinois counties to receive state funding, Peoria will get nearly $1 million. McLean is slated to receive more than $1.3 million, Tazewell is getting about $1 million, and nearly $360,000 is coming to Woodford County.

A breakdown of the counties receiving funding is listed below:

Fulton – $422,147

Livingston - $587,042

Marshall - $176, 355

Mason - $242,719

McLean - $1,352,172

Peoria - $949,758

Putnam - $78,896

Stark - $119,046

Tazewell - $1,024,999

Woodford - $357,645

Pensions and Paychecks:

While in town, the Governor said he’s not giving up his fight to halt Lawmaker’s pay. Quinn stopped compensation this summer after legislators failed to reach a solution to the state’s pension crisis.

This week, a judge denied the Governor’s request to stop leaders from being paid, while he appeals a court ruling that determined withholding the money was unconstitutional.

Quinn said he’s angry legislators haven’t found a fix for the state’s nearly $100 billion pension shortfall. He’s now working to reverse the judge’s decision. “I respectfully disagree with the decision and I think the governor does have a right to veto the appropriation of salary for legislatives and we'll carry that out in court.”

Now, all eyes are on lawmakers to figure out what’s next for the pension system. A conference committee comprised of lawmakers from both parties had been formed this summer, in an effort to reach an agreement.

Quinn said he remains hopeful the group will deliver a plan next month. “I believe they are, hopefully, going to have a plan very soon that can be voted on by both houses and the legislature that will erase the liability. This liability, $100 billion on the taxpayers, is holding our economy back.”

Every day the pension liability rises by $5 million.
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