Illinois' $3.7 billion dollar pension payment is causing problems everywhere you look. Legislators first decided they wouldn't even make the payment, which would cost our children and grandchildren up to $40 billion according to actuaries, says Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford.
Yesterday, Governor Quinn said borrowing should be part of a state budget compromise:
"For those who are running around Illinois saying we can't borrow money, every state in the union does this. It's proper fiscal techniques" Quinn said.
We certainly can't let this $3.7 billion payment go by the wayside, but our legislators must explore other options. Reducing benefits for current workers could save billions.
Dan Lesser of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, posted a piece on the Huffington Post, Illinois General Assembly Takes Steps Towards Responsible Budget.
From our friends downstate at The Southern, Legislators need to step forward now:
We now are witnessing the results of failed leadership. Schools are eliminating teaching positions, social service agencies are slashing programs and the state is ready to lay off large numbers of troopers and prison guards.
At blame for this decade of budgetary destruction is an environment of
myopic partisanship, one that focuses on taking the path of least
resistance, giving people what they want and retaining office.
The Daily Herald's series on Illinois' teacher pension crisis sparked an overwhelming interest from its readers with letters to the editors coming in from both sides of the aisle, for and against. Take a full browse through the letters here.
The University of Illinois hired current University of Connecticut president Michael Hogan to take the reins of the state's university system. The State of Illinois is "$376 million behind in promised payments and expected to allocate less
money next year."