Not so fast...
If you’ve paid any attention to Illinois politics and government over the past few years, you undoubtedly know that the state’s public pension systems are in crisis. In fact, the systems’ $100 billion in red ink is the worst in the nation. Now, after a series of private, closed-door meetings, Gov. Quinn and the legislative leaders have put forth a plan to address some of problem.
This major piece of legislation, which will determine much of the state’s future fiscal health, is just now being circulated to legislators who are expected to vote on it tomorrow. Unfortunately, our experience with the Illinois legislature dictates that any last-minute provisions tucked into major legislation such as this are not good for the taxpayers. We should expect more from our elected leaders than these rushed, backroom deals which have become so typical in Springfield.
To be sure, there are a number of needed reforms in this legislation – limiting runaway COLA increases, capping pensionable salary, raising the retirement age and curbing pension abuses by union executives. However, our worst-funded pension system requires dramatic reforms that this plan does not provide.
It is understandable and laudable that legislative leaders want to finally resolve this problem of their creation. But, when it is not the right deal for your business (or in this case, the State) one must be willing to walk away. We think this is a pension deal to walk away from.