The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 25, 2013

Still no solution in sight


The Commercial-News

---- — This will come as a shock to absolutely no one familiar with the machinations of the Illinois General Assembly, but this week’s two-day veto session ended with no action — as in nothing — to address the state’s $100 billion pension problem.

Lawmakers, without taking an official vote, decided to kick the issue down the road to November’s veto session ... maybe.

Meanwhile, state workers in Vermilion County and elsewhere continue to wonder what the future of their pension benefits will be, what they might have to contribute in the years ahead and what might be taken away from the Legislature’s earlier promises.

The blame for this financial mess belongs to no none but the members of the Illinois General Assembly. During the past several years, agreements were made regarding pension benefits. Then lawmakers diverted the money intended to pay for those benefits or simply ignored the obligation altogether.

The mess has grown large enough now that financial institutions have downgraded the state’s credit rating.

The blame for this issue continuing to stew for so long belongs to Gov. Pat Quinn and his fellow Democrats who control both the House and Senate. A bipartisan panel has worked since summer on a proposal, and one report says it will save the state $138 billion.

However, the discussions continue only behind closed doors — rarely a good sign in regard to Illinois lawmakers — with little sense of urgency on anyone’s part.

The people of Illinois deserve to have a fair deal in place by the end of this real to eliminate the pension problem. Someone should step up and lead the way.