(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday that he was not interested in trying to discharge the state’s pension debts through bankruptcy.
The governor’s comments came after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would favor allowing states struggling with pension debt to declare bankruptcy rather than bailing them out.
McConnell’s said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show that Republicans had little appetite for covering the costs of state pension debt.
“There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations,” McConnell said.
McConnell also said he didn’t want federal money to be used for that purpose.
“We’ll certainly insist that anything we’d borrow to send down to the states is not spent on solving problems that they created for themselves over the years with their pension program,” he said on the syndicated radio program.
Pritzker said he was not concerned.
“Majority Leader McConnell is certainly important to the process of getting things done in Washington D.C., but he is not the only person involved and there are an awful lot of senators on both sides of the aisle that disagree with him,” the governor said.
Pritzker has repeatedly said that Illinois must fund its pension obligations.
Pritzker has not yet revealed his plans for reopening the state for business, but said the alliance Illinois has with other Midwestern states will be beneficial throughout the process.
“I know that we will be able to keep people safe and healthy while we are reopening things in part because we share borders and ideas with each other,” Pritzker said.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 2,049 new COVID-19 cases with 98 additional deaths. Pritzker attributed the high case count to more testing.
Statewide, 35,108 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, including 1,565 deaths. Cases have been reported in 96 of the state’s 102 counties.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the new coronavirus that emerged from China in late 2019.