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posted: 12/2/2013 5:26 PM

Look elsewhere to solve state's revenue problem

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Illinois lawmakers must resist any pressure to tamper with the pensions of schoolteachers in Illinois. I retired in 1994 after 38 years in both high school and college teaching. Reductions in the cost-of-living indexing will adversely affect the quality of my life.

Balancing the Illinois budget on what lawfully and even constitutionally is due us in justice has consequences on all of us -- those currently retired and those working as teachers now, and on the recruitment of future teachers considering their service in Illinois. This eventually and inevitably will affect the well-being of the whole state's economy adversely.

For 38 years I contributed to my retirement. I fulfilled my obligation. The state legislators for decades did not meet their legal obligations to match funds with mine. I don't believe the teachers should be punished because the lawmakers themselves have been delinquent. It's irrational and unjust.

Illinois has a revenue problem, not a pension problem. Illinois corporate income taxes are going uncollected because the big ones have reorganized themselves as S corporations meant for small business owners, and the Caterpillars and the Boeings make pains to record sales outside the state to avoid paying taxes in Illinois. The Illinois EDGE program even lets companies keep the personal state income taxes withheld from their employees' paychecks. Illinois EDGE program gives away millions of dollars to keep and attract companies like Sears, Navistar, Motorola Mobility and Archer Daniels Midland. Such tax breaks and handouts feed a runaway system of nationally unregulated and competitive corporate welfare.

Look there for the leaks and the causes for Illinois' revenue problem, not at pensions.

Marion J. Reis


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