Illinois Comptroller Can't Pay Legislators Due To Pension Crisis, When Will Media Report?

July 29th, 2013 9:08 PM

As members of America’s news media fail to recognize that Detroit went bankrupt due to decades of Democratic Party rule, they’ll probably execute the same protocol when they cover Illinois’ pension fiasco, which happens to be the worst in the country.

In fact, it’s so bad that the Illinois Comptroller has told legislators that they won’t be paid until this matter is resolved. Democratic Governor Pat Quinn has also nixed his own pay until the issue is addressed.   It seems that all is not well in President Obama’s home state, which is probably why the media isn’t giving it the proper attention.

Tammy Webber of the Associated Press wrote on July 25 that:

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said Thursday that she has no choice but to withhold lawmakers' paychecks, citing a precedent-setting court case that bars her from paying state employees without a budget appropriation or court order.

Gov. Pat Quinn cut $13.8 million for legislators' paychecks from a budget bill earlier this month, saying it wouldn't be restored until lawmakers addressed the state's $97 billion pension shortfall. He also suspended his own pay.

"It is my deep hope that this matter is resolved expeditiously," either by a court or by lawmakers agreeing on a solution to the pension crisis, said Topinka, who undertook a legal review to determine if Quinn's actions were constitutional. The Riverside Republican said Thursday that Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office advised her of the case that appears to bar her from acting

She called Quinn's actions a "serious precedent that is being created," and said the stalemate was "no way to run government."

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka )

Nonetheless, things are so bad that in Chicago there are only $0.35 in assets for every $1 of liability.  Additionally, the media’s coverage has been mostly non-existent on CBS, NBC, or ABC.  As NewsBusters colleague Scott Whitlock wrote on July 26, NBC political director – and former Democratic Senate staffer – Chuck Todd said, “I think there was poor governance in Detroit for a very long time. This turned into a machine political town." Whitlock added, "who was responsible for the poor governance? Which machine in particular? Todd didn't say.”  

In all, anytime a comptroller and a governor of a state decided to put a hold on pay for state lawmakers until a budgetary matter is settled, it’s news.  It's an even bigger deal when the people making the tough decisions about pay are Democrats, and the state in question is the president's home state.  When will the big three cover Chicago’s pension fiasco?