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posted: 3/1/2013 5:00 AM

Change the rules on lawmakers' pay

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Most people would probably agree that Illinois lawmakers are overpaid. They are paid considerably more than their counterparts in other states. Yet they do the least. Illinois is in deep trouble, yet lawmakers' heads remain buried in the sand. We are already over the proverbial cliff, we just haven't hit bottom yet. Meanwhile lawmakers spend some time in Springfield occasionally without accomplishing much of anything. They get paid a salary a lot higher than the average Illinois citizen is paid for a full-time job. And they even get pensions and other benefits. Where in the private sector do part-time employees get pensions for part-time work?

The problem is that lawmakers are the ones who determine their pay, and they aren't about to give anything up. So you can complain all you want, but nothing will change. You can vote them out, but it still wont change. All you get are new riders on the same old gravy train.

Any solution will have to come from fed-up citizens -- an uprising, if you will. We need an organized grass-roots effort to get a statewide referendum on the ballot to bring these salaries in line and eliminate pensions for lawmakers. It would require a lot of work, and it would have to remain nonpartisan. It would require knowledgeable people who know how to get things done. It would take a lot of effort promoting the idea and raising funds. The alternative is to go on feeding the train until nothing is left.

Ron Flowers

Elk Grove Village

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