Gov. Quinn launches pension reform website

2012-09-11T16:10:00Z 2012-09-12T13:52:17Z Gov. Quinn launches pension reform websiteBy Kurt Erickson | Kurt.erickson@lee.net pantagraph.com
September 11, 2012 4:10 pm  • 

SPRINGFIELD — Anyone wondering what Gov. Pat Quinn might do to rally support for an overhaul of the state’s pension systems need look no further than cyberspace.

Quinn, who says he is planning to launch a grassroots pension lobbying effort, already has a web page dedicated to the cause.

The site - www.saveourstate.illinois.gov - urges Illinoisans to call their representatives in the General Assembly to lobby for Quinn’s pension changes, which would require workers to pay more of their pay toward their retirements and slash annual cost of living adjustments for retirees.

“We must be able to provide funding for core government services things like educating our children, ensuring public safety and access to basic human services,” the site notes. “Every dollar we spend on pensions and Medicaid is a dollar we don’t spend on grants, community programs and initiatives that many of us depend upon.”

It remains unclear what strategy Quinn plans to employ in the wake of a failed special legislative session on pension reform. During a stop in Decatur on Saturday, he said the pension push would be focused on the Internet and social media.

“Please add your support by telling your elected legislators that we must have true pension reform as soon as possible to restore fiscal stability to Illinois, strengthen our economy and make sure our state is in good shape for the next generation,” the website notes.

Quinn and the General Assembly have been squabbling over how to address more than $83 billion in unfunded liability in the retirement systems affecting state workers, teachers, university workers, legislators and judges.

In addition to adding costs for current workers and reducing annual adjustments for retirees, Quinn and Democratic leaders have suggested making downstate school districts pay a bigger share of their employee pension costs.

Republicans say that will force school districts to raise property taxes.

“Delaying, deferring, or denying this challenge is not an option. This isn’t about politics no matter where you stand, Illinois must address this problem. Today,” the site notes.

Legislative leaders gave the website mixed reviews.

“The Senate President is encouraged by any efforts to achieve a bipartisan, comprehensive pension solution,” said Ronald Holmes, spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago.

“This does not move the needle at all,” said Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont.

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(5) Comments

  1. zoeconnor
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    zoeconnor - September 13, 2012 7:11 pm
    Would the politicians of Illinois please stop lying to the residents of Illinois? Quinn states that pension reform will "restore fiscal stability to Illinois." Are you kidding? This state is in such tremendous debt that pension reform won't make a dent in our fiscal status. Where is the total plan? Instead of targeting educators, and then gaining no ground, why don't you outline a comprehensive program that will truly make a difference? At the same time, what significant changes will Governor Quinn make in his frivolous spending?
  2. SueEllen
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    SueEllen - September 13, 2012 6:52 pm
    So Quinn doesn't want the credit agencies to think Illinois will default on future bonds.
    And to convince them, he wants to default on pension contracts.
  3. FMcGowan
    Report Abuse
    FMcGowan - September 13, 2012 9:52 am
    The governor is starting a "grassroots" campaign? I thought that tern signified that the campaign stated at the bottom (you know, the "roots") and grew on its own (the "grass") in an uncontrolled way, spreading out across the political landscape like, well, like grass.

    I don't think Pat Quinn should use words he does not understand.

    Perhaps he should curtail his use of other words, too, for the same reason; "ethics" comes to mind. After all, is it "ethical" to let promises of pensions and retiree health insurance linger in the air for decades after a decision was clearly taken to not fund these benefits? Is it ethical to blame the victims of this huge theft - the retirees - rather than the perpetrators - the political class of which he is a long time member? I guess it IS ethical - or seems so - to Chicago Democrats.

    Jim Edgar got the legislature to agree to a plan to fund the pension systems back when he had to rescue the state form a previous fiscal crisis. If the money is not in the pension funds, it is because Governors Ryan, Blagojevich and Quinn have permitted the Speaker of the House, Mike Madigan for almost all of the last 30 years or so, and a succession of Presidents of the Senate to spend the pension fund money on other more urgent expenses like buying votes.
  4. marline
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    marline - September 13, 2012 9:33 am
    maybe ryan and blago will move over for quinn
  5. CSRoberts
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    CSRoberts - September 13, 2012 6:46 am
    I love Illinois politics. Everyone talks about launching a grassroots campaign when they wouldn't know grassroots if they were grazing on grass. Most of the Illinois politicians are from Chicago and have never left Cook county in their lives until they were elected. Now they have to travel to Springfield. OMG!!! The Chicago politicians want everything for Cook county and could care less about the needs of the people in the rest of the State. If the Governor wants to start a grassroots campaign to discuss the State worker pensions, he should call in all the retirees of today and those who expect to retire within the next five years. I worked for the State for 32 years and was able to buy an additional five years which gave me 37 good years of working for the State. While I was working, I always felt that if I continued to do a good job for the State I would have a job, that I felt, would reward me in the twilight years of my life with a pension and health insurance that I worked for and deserve. Those people who think this is an entitlement, need to know what it's like to work for a company who could care less about them once they retire. We were promised a retirement package, once we met all the criteria, that would enable us to live comfortably in our Golden Years. Most of us are no longer marketable, but we will have to find some kind of job that will bring money into our households just to make ends meet. If our pensions are dropped and our insurance taken away, I wonder if the Chicago politicians will take in the former State workers as exemptions on their taxes. They could lie on their tax forms and say we're their dying Grandparents or something like that. Chicago politicians can come up with something. That seems to be their style.



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