There is simply no bigger problem facing our state than the enormous, catastrophically growing debt in our state workers' pension funds. So when I was presented with a leadership opportunity on this issue this year, I jumped at it.
I've worked nonstop to understand the problem, define answers and build support for a long-term solution. We are on the cusp of a historic breakthrough. I am disappointed that we did not vote on the package of reforms that surfaced late in the spring legislative session and hope we soon will return to Springfield to take it up. This is a problem that is decades in the making and now we're trying to make the hard choices to get it fixed in a much shorter timeframe. Until then, I'll keep working to educate my colleagues on why we should support pension reform that:
*Restores certainty that workers' hard-earned retirement is safe and secure
*Ends lavish pensions for legislators and others that are out of line with Illinoisans' expectations
*Ensures government at the state and local levels and employees are paying their fair share to support a realistic, sustainable pension system
*Provides relief from the budget pressures now forcing us to fund pensions over spending in critical areas such as education, health care and human services
As our retirement funds adjust their estimated investment returns and send the crushing debt even higher, it's essential we deal with this problem now in as meaningful a way as possible. I'm committed to getting this job done -- no more excuses.