Pension reform a must for Illinois!

May 25, 2011

Shame is in order for the deceitful public union-sponsored pension ads now airing which accuse politicians in Springfield of wanting to take away life savings and cut pension of their members.

My ire was particularly intense upon hearing a teacher-union sponsored pension ad which claims member teachers contribute 10 percent of their earnings, without ever missing a payment, into their retirement fund.

Teacher unions across the state have been successful in getting contracts for teachers that put the burden of teacher retirement system contributions completely or mostly on the local school districts. Two-thirds of all educators in Illinois contribute less than 1 percent of their pay to the TRS. Local taxpayers pick up the rest.

Illinois teachers and other public employee unions must stop spreading lies with ads to gain the sympathy of the public. No one is planning to cut life savings or cut the pension benefits public employees have earned, but there is a need to reduce retirement benefits employees earn in the future.

Shame, too, on Illinois politicians for failing to fund state pension plans decade after decade, choosing to instead spend money on priorities that provided instant gratification in wooing voters! As with Social Security, Illinois pension plans are Ponzi schemes.

It is undeniable that Illinois is at a fiscal tipping point. Generous pension benefits that the state cannot afford are at the root of this problem. It is no longer possible to kick the can down the road.

Illinois has an $86 billion pension debt that is equal to $20,000 in debt per Illinois household. By 2045, without reform, state pension payments will eat up close to 50 percent of the state’s revenue.

In order to halt this state’s economic death spiral and to set Illinois on the path to future prosperity, solutions must be found that will last into the next century.

Time is running out. The General Assembly adjourns on May 31. Call your legislators, urging them to vote “yes” on pension reform.

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