Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and several Republican legislators to strengthen the push for comprehensive pension reform by Jan. 9, the end of the current legislative session. The governor met with suburban leaders and discussed the urgent need for action by the General Assembly. Today's event strengthened bipartisan support for comprehensive pension reform.
"Every day that urgently needed action on pension reform is delayed, the problem gets worse," Governor Quinn said. "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 single day. 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. Without comprehensive pension reform, all areas of the state budget including assistance provided to local communities across the state will be impacted, endangering operations and the ability of communities to improve their infrastructure.
DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, who also formerly served as chairman of the DuPage County Republican Party, served in the General Assembly for almost 20 years. Chairman 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.
"Illinois' pension disaster is a statewide problem, not a Springfield problem," Chairman 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, Governor 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 to build public awareness about the need for legislative action on pension reform in Springfield and empower citizens to make their voices heard. The governor and his senior staff have been meeting with legislators, leaders and their staffs for weeks to forge common ground on pension reform. The governor continues to work with legislators every day to enact a solution as soon as possible.
The following legislators attended today's meeting: 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. For more information, visit www.ThisisMyIllinois.com.