Solving the Pension Crisis
When our teachers, college professors, and public employees were hired, the State of Illinois offered them a deal that went like this: You accept a wage that’s lower than you would earn if you were working in the private sector and in return, the people of Illinois will provide you with a reasonable pension after you retire.
To make good on that deal, the State promised to make regular payments into its public pension systems, where those dollars could be invested wisely and grow over the years. Unfortunately, after decades of failing to fund those pension systems at responsible levels, the State of Illinois is facing enormous shortfalls in its retirement funds.
But, the problem with these pensions is not employee “greed” or pensions that are too lucrative. Rather, the massive holes in our public pension systems represent self-inflicted wounds by elected officials who refused to make hard budgetary choices after decades of over-spending. Simply put, they neglected to fulfill their promise to public employees.
It is wrong to scapegoat hard-working public employees to justify cutting their pension benefits. By claiming that public pension benefits are over-generous and undeserved, some of our elected officials are trying to pit our public employees against the people they serve.
We cannot get out of this mess by misleading taxpayers and insulting the professionalism of hard-working teachers, state workers, and other public employees. Instead, we need to come together, negotiate, and develop solutions that will make sure our public employees’ retirement systems are fair, sustainable, and properly funded. Our Supreme Court has said the state must hold up our end of the bargain and it’s the right thing to do.
Paid for and authorized by Friends of Alyx Pattison. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board's official website (www.elections.il.gov) or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.