Phillips calls for end to 'one-man rule' in Illinois
Rep. Reggie Phillips, of District 110, is telling his constituents he is eager to take on pension reform, while criticizing House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton for what Phillips calls a “one-man rule” when it comes to controversial issues such as the state’s pension debt.
When the Illinois state legislature resumes again in November, just after the election, there are sure to be sparks flying as legislators continue to debate the issue of pension reform. With pension debt likely to take center stage, Phillips said Illinoisans are watching the November election carefully, as it could play a major role in whether and how pension reforms are brought to the table.
“The Illinois General Assembly will not be in session again until after election,” Phillips recently told the East Central Reporter. “This is done on purpose to see who the ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ are for the controversial issues.”
Phillips says he hopes the November election will do away with the “one-man rule” in both the state House and Senate.
“Speaker Madigan wants absolute Democrat control, and he is willing and able to spend millions on elections to maintain that power,” Phillips said. “Each election is vital to chip away at that power and remove the ‘one-man rule’ by restoring the Illinois House to the people’s house.”
Phillips, who began his term in the State House of Representatives in January 2015, believes ending bipartisanship is key in order for work to start on pension reform.
“Gov. Rauner has publicly supported Senate President Cullerton’s plan over Speaker Madigan’s plan,” Phillips said. “This is another classic example of the abuse of power in the Illinois General Assembly. Both Cullerton and Madigan are in the election, meaning they will spend millions of dollars to win more seats and maintain and gain more control over their chambers. Once the election concludes, we will start to see various pension reform ideas being spoken in the press and most likely not presented to the House or Senate for a few months.”
Phillips -- who recently fought hard for education funding during the June special session of the state legislature, when the stopgap budget was passed -- said he is ready to go to work on the pension issue, viewing it as a top priority.
“I am eager to start the negotiations of the pension plan under the guidelines provided by the Supreme Court,” Phillips said. “We have fought this battle in Springfield for years, and it is simply not fair to the participants and retirees. The fact is the state of Illinois is broke and we simply cannot afford the pension plan we currently operate. The fiscal responsibility we have for future retirees is a top priority -- and I am calling on the leaders to take this issue up immediately.”