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updated: 11/21/2010 2:01 PM

Palatine's Morrison: Won't add to state's budget problems

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As the newly elected state representative in District 54, I filed paperwork today that officially removes my family and me from participation in the Illinois General Assembly Retirement System.

In the next week, the General Assembly will debate whether or not to borrow yet another $4 billion to make this year's required pension fund payments.

Our state continues down the road to fiscal insolvency with $6 billion in unpaid bills, a $13 billion deficit this year, and at least $80 billion in unfunded pension liability.

Without further drastic reforms to our current system, the state's public employee pension plans risk collapse for current and future retirees. Furthermore, the state's budget will have no room for any spending other than Medicaid, pension payments and interest on our debt.

There will be no money for public safety, transportation needs, education, or anything else. Lastly, the demand for greater taxation to support this unsustainable spending and borrowing will further drive residents and businesses to move out of the state, which would accelerate our demise.

I stated repeatedly during the campaign that leaders ought to lead by example. It is our elected officials individually and collectively who created this crisis by over-promising and under-delivering to a trusting public.

As a newly elected official, I choose to put Illinois taxpayers first by personally sacrificing my state legislator pension. My constituents expect me to serve and to help solve these enormous fiscal problems, not add to them, or continue the status quo.

I hope that other Illinois public officials will follow my example.

State Rep. Tom Morrison