We were pleased to read Gov. Pat Quinn's initiative to establish a panel to address Illinois' pension problems. While the panel's primary focus will be placed on the state of Illinois systems that fund the retirements of state and educational employees, we strongly encourage the panel to address public safety pensions, the terms of which are mandated by the General Assembly, but funded by local taxpayers.
The 42 members of the Northwest Municipal Conference, working through the Pension Fairness for Illinois Communities Coalition, have called for meaningful reforms to preserve the solvency of these funds. We stand ready to assist the governor and the panel by offering the perspective of local governments and by providing critical data necessary to create meaningful reforms to pension systems -- reforms that must necessarily include public safety pensions.
While the pension reforms passed in 2010 addressed only new employees, the core problems with these systems for current employees remain and must be addressed in a way that make pensions and their funding predictable, sustainable and fair for taxpayers, state and local governments, retirees and all public employees. Therefore, we look forward to the work of the panel and urge the governor and the General Assembly to address meaningful pension reforms in the coming legislative session.
Christopher S. Canning
Northwest Municipal Conference
Village president, Wilmette