The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


March 29, 2013

Work on pension reform out in the open

DANVILLE — Illinois lawmakers soon will return from their Easter break to take up the issue of pension reform once again.

Due to the inability — and unwillingness — of legislators to fulfill their own promises made to public employees for a number of years, the state’s pension fund faces an estimated shortfall of more than $95 million.

So far, lawmakers followed a piecemeal approach, with various ideas being presented, reaction from special interest groups weighed and little action take to develop comprehensive pension.

Members of the House and Senate have managed to pass bits and pieces of legislation that nibble at reducing various costs of pensions, but nothing to bring the entire plan into line.

The strategy, preconceived or not, allows the General Assembly leaders to retire behind closed doors to cook up their own solution to the pension problem. It’s a tactic the Illinois General Assembly has used time and time again.

The practice robs the opportunity for the public to know what’s going on and to respond to various proposals.

Special interests involved retain a voice at the table through lawmakers who serve their interests, but the real bosses of the legislators — the voting public — are left out of the process.

The pension problem looms as too large a threat to the state’s prosperity for its solution to be determined this way.

Lawmakers should act like grownups and debate the issue under the light of public scrutiny.

Even though it might mean tougher re-election campaigns for some lawmakers, Illinois and its residents will be better for it.

Text Only
  • Put money to better use Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced earlier this week the state would pass along $52 million in federal dollars to pay for various alternative transportation projects, such as bike paths and walking trails. While the money is nice, it could be put to b

    April 16, 2014

  • Make penalty a tough one An old nemisis appears to be making a comeback in Illinois, and legislators and law enforcement officials worry that the influx of heroin will leave an even deadlier wake than before. The situation is bad enough that members of the Illinois House dec

    April 13, 2014

  • A good addition for United Way United Way officials announces earlier this week the addition of a 2-1-1 phone service, which connects people in need with agencies that can offer assistance. The latest addition to the United Way's arsenal of ways to aid residents in Vermilion Count

    April 11, 2014

  • A glimmer of promise An Illinois legislator -- state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Staunton -- finally appears to recognize a growing problem in the state that his fellow lawmakers apparently choose to ignore: Illinois schools face real financial problems. Many school districts hav

    April 10, 2014

  • E-cigarettes: Use caution The latest craze sweeping the area involves an old habit -- smoking -- in a way. And like its well-know toxic predecessor, not much is known about it as it begins to become more commonplace. Electronic cigarettes -- known as E cigarettes -- provide i

    April 6, 2014

  • Gambling plan takes new turn Members of the Illinois Legislature will consider yet another version of a bill to expand gambling in the state. This one also includes a proposal to put a casino in Danville -- kind of. State Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, told The Associated Press h

    April 3, 2014

  • Time to start cleaning up As the days grow longer and the temperatures continue to rise -- hopefully -- area residents can begin to put the record-setting snowfall and cold behind them and enjoy spring. The sunny days already have melted away the 50-plus inches of snow that f

    March 28, 2014

  • Great job at NJCAA Mary Miller gym on the campus of Danville Area Community College must still echo with the cheers from last week's National Junior College Athletic Association's Men's Division II Basketball Tournament. Sixteen teams from across the country visited DA

    March 25, 2014

  • School merger is right move Residents in the Catlin and Jamaica school districts soon will have a chance to vote on a plan to merge the two districts. It's a good move for the most important people involved -- the students. A Committee of Ten, made up of representatives from bo

    March 23, 2014

  • Use a brake on spring break Today marks a couple of significant benchmarks in our area's move away from the snowiest winter on record. It's the first full day of spring and it's the first day of a week-long spring break for District 118 students. That means more young people wi

    March 21, 2014

AP Video
NDN Video
Must Read