In response to your recent editorial on Illinois' pension situation, our state truly is in a crisis. It seems the Senate president clearly does not understand the power and pain of compound interest. Illinois has an unfunded pension liability of nearly $100 billion -- the worst in the nation, according to official government numbers. As a result, our credit rating continues to slide. This means taxpayers will be forced to pay even higher penalty rates when the state borrows money.
Illinois already pays the highest borrowing penalty rate in the nation -- nearly three times higher than California's. What's worse is that the problem grows by $21 million every day lawmakers fail to enact reform. This debt growth, coupled with the fact that the quickly growing pension payments continue to crowd out resources for core government services, should be reason enough for lawmakers to enact reform during the fall veto session.
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Contrary to the Senate president's assertion, this is not just a cost-cutting move by business. This is wise guidance by smart business owners who understand how to handle money, obligations and time. Businesses should work to cut costs. Demonizing businesses and those who make a profit (they reason we are in business) is counterproductive and only sends more jobs out of Illinois to states who "get it," including our neighbors in Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Businesses are here to make a profit, create jobs and sustain the Illinois economy. Watching our costs is simply a prudent, and essential, move that state government should emulate. It's high time for state government to enact meaningful pension reform and send a strong signal that Illinois is a place where we can do business.
Chairman, Technology & Manufacturing Association of Illinois
Chief alignment officer
Atlas Tool & Die Works