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.
Executive Vice President, Illinois Chamber of Commerce
From the Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2013, issue