It is no secret that the State of Illinois is facing a massive burden in the form of more than $130 Billion in unfunded pension liabilities. Democrats and Republicans alike acknowledge the severity of this challenge, although we have significant differences on how to address it. The City of Chicago has its own separate pension debt problems which are similar, if not worse. Yet instead of working in a bipartisan manner to achieve comprehensive pension reform that respects taxpayers, Illinois lawmakers are moving forward with a plan to let Chicago raise taxes to put a band-aid on their own pension debt while ignoring the need for reform to state pension systems.
On April 6, an Illinois House committee approved the legislation in question, Senate Bill 14, which would make various changes to the Chicago municipal pension funds through a state-authorized increase on Chicago property tax payers. I am voting NO, in part because Chicago politicians created the problem that they are now asking the state for permission to fix on the backs of property tax payers; while the General Assembly fails to address much-needed reform to state pension systems. Enough is enough. We need to get serious about dealing with constitutional pension reform as a whole, not piecemeal.
Click below to watch me question the Democrat sponsor of the bill in Personnel & Pensions Committee on Thursday. SB 14 was passed out of committee by a vote of 8-6 and now goes to the full House of Representatives for consideration.