This Friday our state legislature will meet for one day to do what Gov. Pat Quinn has proclaimed the reason he was placed on this earth, "To solve to state's pension crisis." Our pension system has been underfunded since the mid-1960's. Illinois' pension fund has a current shortage of at least $84 billion, ranking it 49th out of 50 states. Our legislators must stop the politics and do what is right.
Regardless of what the legislators will proclaim as a success the next day, we know it will take longer that one day to correct this problem. We also know, as voters, what we can do if our legislators fail to deliver.
The pension problem is a mosaic of issues. The only way to change our pension picture is to amend it piece by piece. As an Arlington Heights village trustee, I know the difficulties of tightening budgets firsthand. Our board has worked very hard with our administration to ensure that in tough economic times, the needs of the village are met, while the discretionary spending is cut to an absolute minimum. As a result, we have been able to manage so far through difficult financial times without the interruptions of a high level of essential services the village provides its residents.
As a fellow elected official, I charge our legislature to stop the political haggling, go to Springfield, and do your job. If you don't there are plenty of experienced people who can take your place. While maybe not all of you may agree with the governor in that you were placed on this earth to solve our pension crisis, know that you were placed in Springfield by us, your constituents, to do the same.
Joseph C. Farwell