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posted: 5/4/2013 5:00 AM

Going in circles on pension reform

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A couple of weeks ago, a male robin staked out his territory and started to attack my house as he saw his reflection in my windows, perceiving it as another robin encroaching on his turf. It was frustrating and painful to watch the bird fly into the window over and over again to no avail. We put up streamers on the windows and did what we could to try to persuade the bird to stop the attacks. Fortunately he found his mate or else came up with another solution to his problem.

The Illinois House and Senate have been working on trying to solve the pension crisis that is causing the state's credit ratings to be lowered, and deficit to spiral higher -- a problem that previous legislatures caused by not funding their portion of the pension obligations. But like that robin they keep coming up with the same solution over and over again. They want to punish current teachers by making them pay more into the retirement system, and take away money from annuitants by reducing benefits that they have contractually and constitutionally earned. And each time they introduce the same legislation over and over it gets defeated over and over by legislators that see its constitutional flaws and inequities.

It has been said that we don't have a pension problem, we have a revenue problem, and we need leaders who can reasonably work through this crisis without blinders on, and structure a solution that is right for Illinois.

Howard Miller


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