Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday met with DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and other Republican legislators to push for pension reform by Jan. 9, the end of the current legislative session.
“Every day that urgently needed action on pension reform is delayed, the problem gets worse," Quinn said in a statement. "As elected leaders, we have a responsibility to put politics aside and enact a solution that prevents skyrocketing pension costs from squeezing out core services like education, public safety and health care. We can do that now and we should not wait another day."
Without pension reform, the unfunded liability grows by $17.1 million every day, according to a press release from DuPage County. According to the Pew Center for the States, Illinois has the worst-funded pension systems in the nation. As Illinois’ $96 billion unfunded pension liability grows, it squeezes out more and more funding for crucial services such as education, health care, road repair and public safety from the state budget.
DuPage County Board President Dan Cronin served in the General Assembly for almost 20 years. Cronin is a leader among many business and civic figures who recognize the need for a comprehensive solution to Illinois’ most critical financial challenge. Yesterday, a group of better government and civic organizations also endorsed the governor's call for pension reform by Jan. 9, according to the release.
“Illinois' pension disaster is a statewide problem, not a Springfield problem,” Cronin said. “People come up to me all the time to express their concerns about the pension crisis and ask what we can do about it. The consequences of this crisis know no boundaries and the solution should have no sole ownership or obligation. Taxpayers expect all of us who serve in public office – from the statehouse all the way down to here at the county and local level – to step up and support meaningful reform measures. The future viability of our state depends on it.”
In April, Quinn proposed a plan that would fully fund the pension system by 2042 and prevent skyrocketing pension costs from squeezing out core services. The governor also launched an education effort called to build public awareness about the need for legislative action on pension reform in Springfield and empower citizens to make their voices heard, according to the release.
The legislators at the event included Rep. Darlene Senger, Rep. Chris Nybo, Rep. Michael Fortner, Rep. Jim Durkin, Rep. Michael Connelly, Rep. Patti Bellock, Rep. Franco Coladipietro, Rep. Randy Ramey, Rep. Dennis Reboletti, Sen. Ron Sandack, and Sen. Tom Johnson.
The legislature is scheduled to end its legislative session Jan. 9.
Information courtesy of a press release from DuPage County.