It's time for politicians to sit down and statesmen to stand up. Opinions seem to be finally changing in Springfield -- I see leadership moving in a positive direction to enact meaningful reforms to the main program suffocating Illinois financially: public pensions. This must get done. I am impressed with Gov. Pat Quinn's efforts to protect the state's ability to fund public pensions, and I look forward to the seeing specific legislation and commit to working with him to bring about a constitutional and fair resolution.
The pension working group also deserves praise for their time spent generating ideas on these crucial issues. I've been vocal about my concerns over our massively unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities. My hope is the legislature will accomplish substantial pension reform in the next month.
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The state budget being wrestled with will set Illinois on a defining course. I am a Republican and I am proud of that fact, but I am vowing to check any partisanship at the door and work with Gov. Quinn to get this difficult budget passed. I took the oath to be the treasurer of Illinois to serve all people: Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Tea Partyers, Libertarians and all those who aren't quite sure where they stand in this murky political swamp.
Gov. Quinn and I have not always agreed on some key issues. Most notably we differ on strategies regarding borrowing to repay old debt, and I would prefer a long-range strategic plan before the state closes any of its mental health or correctional facilities. But these differences are for another day. Today, I stand with the governor in believing that meaningful, constitutional and fair pension reform must occur during this legislative session.