Preparing for the State of the State

By WEEK Producer

February 5, 2013 Updated Feb 6, 2013 at 12:00 AM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Wednesday is a big day for the Land of Lincoln as Governor Pat Quinn will deliver his State of the State Address.

There's no doubt Governor Quinn will have quite a bit to say, as the state sits in a pool of debt.

Governor Quinn's State of the State speech Wednesday will set the tone for the rest of this year. That tone is already being made loud and clear by central Illinois lawmakers.

"When you talk about the State of the State, it's in distress and there's a lot of areas that need immediate attention," said Republican State Representative Dan Brady of the 88th District.

That distress is caused by the pension crisis and the inability for the General Assembly to come to a bi-partisan solution. But beyond the General Assembly, it takes leadership and that leadership needs to come from Governor Quinn.

"We should be locked into a room and not come out until we solve this issue," said Republican State Senator Darin LaHood of the 37th District. "The Governor should put all the leaders in the room and whoever else needs to be in there and not dictate things by press conference or by press release, sit in a room, solve our problems, and don't come out until we do."

46th District Democratic State Senator Dave Koehler thinks pension reform will happen, but he questions if it will happen in a fair way.

"We need to look at this as a long term, 30 year endeavor, refinance it," said Koehler. "There's no reason to allow ourselves to be on the ramp at this point. The ramp hit three years ago. It's like buying a house with a balloon payment. When the balloon payment comes due, you refinance, you don't just go under."

Along with the $17 million the state spends a day, there is $6 billion in unpaid bills and $9 billion in debt, but the debt problem goes far beyond finances.

"One of the debts were running right now is one of trust. And when the general public does not trust the General Assembly to do what they should be doing for the betterment of the greater good, it becomes very difficult to handle these large scale problems," said Democratic State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth of the 92nd District.

Those problems will be addressed by the Governor as he lays out his plan for 2013.

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