The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

July 12, 2013

Pension farce continues


DANVILLE — Sadly, the latest developments in Illinois lawmakers’ efforts to resolve the state’s $100 billion public pension crisis sounds more like a playground tiff than good government.

When members of a bipartisan legislative committee ignore a deadline arbitrarily imposed by Gov. Pat Quinn — as they have several times during the past two years — the governor said he would withhold their pay along with his own until a solution was found. It sounds like a Statehouse equivalent to “I’ll take the ball and go home.”

Earlier in the week, Quinn had declined an opportunity to testify before that same committee, missing a chance to show some real leadership on the issue by outlining a viable solution for the public — and lawmakers — to hear.

The pension crisis came about due to promises made by the General Assembly to state employees, with the lawmakers then failing to live up to their end of the deal. The weight of paying for the shortfall is crushing potential job growth and casting Illinois as a place that can’t get its legislative self together. The solution will not make many people happy, but one must be found — and soon.