In Illinois, we understand the profound debt of gratitude we owe our heroes. And I’m proud to say, on behalf of the people of Illinois, to Sergeant Cissell, and to all our servicemembers, veterans, and their families: thank you for your service and sacrifice.
Fellow citizens of Illinois: I am here to report on the state of our state.
And let there be no mistake: our state is at a critical juncture.
We have made strong progress in the last four years, on everything from creating jobs and reforming our education system, to enacting strong ethical standards and improving our roads, bridges, and rail systems like never before.
We have moved Illinois forward. But we have much more to do. At this point, each and every one of us has a choice to make about what we want our Illinois to look like.
Do we want, in the years to come, a prosperous Illinois where working people continue to have good jobs...where businesses thrive.. and where all our children have a world-class education?
Or do we want to stop the progress and watch our economic recovery stall?
This is a choice about whether we’ll make the tough decisions necessary to balance our budget by reforming our public pension systems.or whether we will let our jobs, our safety, and our schools be squeezed out by skyrocketing pension costs.
We have a tall task ahead of us. This is no small issue. And doing what’s hard isn’t always what’s popular at the moment.
But, we must remember that hard is not impossible.
In fact, last year, we made major progress on some of the most impossible issues that have ever confronted our state.
We overhauled our Medicaid program and saved it from the brink of collapse.