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posted: 3/8/2013 5:00 AM

Keep commitment to public workers, too

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The Feb. 24 editorial, "The importance of trust in solving the state's pension crisis," seems to pick and choose which commitments and promises need to be kept to begin to build trust with the state's citizens. According to the editorial, the commitment and promise to roll back the 2011 income tax increase is sacred, but the commitment made to public employees is "going to have to be broken."

Public employees are both Illinois state citizens and taxpayers. Does their employment status or former employment status make them second-class citizens? Why should promises made to them be less inviolable than promises made to state citizens at large?

Most public employees and former employees realize some changes need to be made to solve the pension crisis for the benefit both the state and the pension system. Most would accept change and sacrifice as long as the burden is shared. Shared sacrifice might look like taxing the retirement income above $60,000 of all citizens. Currently such income is free of state income tax. Shared sacrifice might look like transferring pension obligations to local taxing bodies. Even if this caused local taxes to increase, all citizens would share the burden.

I am sure there are other options that meet the shared sacrifice threshold. Keeping some promises while breaking others may be expedient but will do nothing to build trust among all citizens.

Donald Kellen

Arlington Heights

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