One reason children stand to lose the most from the pension squeeze is their lack of a voice in Springfield, according to a new video released today by Governor Pat Quinn.
"Kids Don't Have Lobbyists: Part 2" picks up where the children left off in "Kids Don't Have Lobbyists: Part I." That video was posted last week as part of Governor Quinn's "Thanks in Advance" Internet campaign to educate Illinoisans about the urgent need for pension reform.
"Kids: Part 1" -- which has been viewed more than 5,600 times -- went behind-the-scenes at a children's focus group about cereal which turned into a discussion of pension reform. As the gravity of the pension problem became clear and the kids realized their voices were not being heard, they decided to hire a lobbyist. In the sequel, the kids hold "Lobbyist Tryouts" and interview "Mr.Tim the Lobbyist." They realize "Mr. Tim is expensive."
View both of the "Kids Don't Have Lobbyists" videos at ThisIsMyIllinois.com or the "Thanks in Advance" Facebook page.
"Today's adults must sacrifice a little of their present so the children of our state can have a bright future," Governor Quinn said. "In the past decade, the pension squeeze has forced deep cuts in early childhood education, after-school programs and grants for college-bound students. Nobody has more at stake in pension reform than the children of Illinois and we should all keep that in mind heading into January."
State spending on public pensions will exceed education spending by 2016 if comprehensive pension reform is not enacted. The state's pension payments - which made up just six percent of the state's budget in 2008 - have soared to 16 percent of the budget in 2013. That increase has "squeezed" the education portion of the budget from 30 percent down to 26 percent. The "squeeze" by pension payments on essential state services is the focus of "Thanks in Advance," which has attracted 41,000 unique visitors and nearly 50,000 YouTube views.
The "Kids Don't Have Lobbyists: Part 2" video joins four videos on the "Thanks in Advance" website, including videos by legendary "explainer" Salman Khan. Khan was named by Time Magazine as one of the World's 100 Most Influential People for his commitment to offering a "world class education for everyone everywhere."
In April, Governor Quinn proposed a plan that would rescue the pension systems, ensure employees have access to benefits and prevent skyrocketing pension costs from eating up core services like education and healthcare. The governor's plan would fully fund the pension system by 2042. "Thanks in Advance" aims to build public awareness about the need for legislative action on pension reform in Springfield and empower citizens to make their voices heard. The legislature is scheduled to work January 3 - 8.