With just eight days left in the spring legislative session, Governor Pat Quinn today announced a surge of support from businesses and economic development groups across Illinois for his plans to rescue the state pension and Medicaid systems. Recognizing the positive impact the Governor's plans will have on small and large employers, businesses throughout the state urged lawmakers to pass major pension and Medicaid stabilization reforms this spring session. More than 60 businesses and economic development groups have backed the Governor's proposals.
"The Chicagoland Chamber strongly supports Governor Quinn's plans to stabilize and strengthen our Medicaid and pension systems. One of the most important things to the business community is a strong, stable business climate, which provides employers with the certainty they need to invest more, grow more and create more jobs. By addressing these two major issues, our elected leaders can pave the way for more economic growth in Illinois," Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Jerry Roper said. "The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce stands with Governor Quinn in urging the General Assembly to make the tough decisions -- and take the tough votes- to address these challenges this spring session."
Fast-growing public pensions and Medicaid currently take up 39% of state general revenue spending, and will grow to 50% next year without major reforms. Inaction by lawmakers this spring to fundamentally reform both systems could also severely limit the state's ability to fund core services like education and public safety, threaten the state's credit rating and hurt the long-term sustainability of both systems. On Monday, Medicaid restructuring legislation was filed to reform Illinois' Medicaid system.
"Putting Illinois on the path to fiscal stability will be good for our employers and good for jobs," Governor Quinn said. "If we want small and large businesses to continue to grow in Illinois, we must give them the certainty they need to invest and create jobs."
Governor Quinn recently proposed a plan to fundamentally restructure the Medicaid system and save it from collapse by creating $2.7 billion in savings. The Governor's Medicaid plan cuts waste, fraud and abuse, and raises the price of cigarettes to bring back dollar for dollar federal matching funds and help make people healthier. The Governor also recently proposed a bold plan to stabilize the pension system, which is expected to save taxpayers $65 to $85 billion, eliminate the unfunded liability and allow public employees who have faithfully contributed to the system to continue to receive pension benefits.
"Mitsubishi Motors North America, along with the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce and others, support Governor Quinn's call to action to reform Illinois' pension laws and review Medicaid policy in what remains of this legislative session. These actions are necessary to improve the business climate of our state by improving Illinois' financial health and by building a platform for sustainable economic growth," Mitsubishi Motors North America Chief Operating Officer Jerry Berwanger said.
"The budget deficit is the single most important issue facing the state. Illinois needs to address its state pension and Medicaid issues quickly. If the rating agencies downgrade the state's debt, it could cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, and would risk making Illinois less attractive to businesses. We encourage our state's elected officials to come together and work with Governor Quinn to fix this problem yet this month," Navistar Chairman, President and CEO Dan Ustian said.
BREAK IN TRNSCRIPT