Time for pension reform was long ago

October 30, 2013

Taxpayers should be watching with great interest the ongoing work of the special committee of the Illinois General Assembly wrestling with the tough, but essential, issue of pension reform. While we are encouraged by early reports of the committee’s work, it does not dent the frustration of millions of Illinoisans who believe the time for reform was long, long ago.

However, taxpayers should also be well aware that a large number of Illinois legislators have already stood up for them by supporting strong pension reform legislation. They have taken the tough vote to restore economic sanity to the state’s finances by voting for meaningful bills. Unfortunately, too many of their colleagues, to date, have taken the easy way out, and we are still awaiting passage of a reform bill.

Sen. Dave Syverson, Rep. Tom Demmer, Rep. Charles Jefferson, and Rep. Joe Sosnowski all deserve immense credit for voting for real pension reform. They have voted for billions of dollars of savings for current taxpayers and future generations. Illinois simply cannot return to fiscal stability without stabilizing the worst-funded pension system in the nation. These legislators recognize this reality and acted responsibly on behalf of their constituents.

As our unemployment rate continues as the second highest in the nation, taxpayers are right to question our legislature’s ability to address the critical issues facing our state. But remember, many individual legislators such as Sen. Dave Syverson, Rep. Tom Demmer, Rep. Charles Jefferson, and Rep. Joe Sosnowski have already stood up. They simply need more help.

Todd Maisch
Executive Vice President, Illinois Chamber of Commerce
Springfield, Ill.

From the Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2013, issue

3 Comments

  1. Susan

    October 31, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Pension reform must be fair to the pensioners and state employees. They paid their part for the pensions and if the state had honored what it was supposed to pay there would be no crisis. The major pensions funds are solvent and will be for years. The terms of be a state representative or senator should be limited and they should be ineligible for pensions. Their pension fund is one of the most underfunded and most generous. Look into the reality not just the scare tactics.

  2. nobama4me

    October 31, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    The state screwed up not funding their part. The problem is, the retiree’s part was never enough to give a teacher 70% of salary at retirement. Or a states attorney over $100,000 a year, plus another $40,000 a year for being a judge for 7 years after retiring as states attorney.

  3. Albert

    November 7, 2013 at 7:52 am

    State pension funds were mismanaged for years by our elected representatives ignoring the state’s obligation to pay into these funds while state employees continued to pay their fair share. Legislators are struggling with reform because of potential litigation that may end up costing the state even more money.

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