Jul 28, 2014

Readers Weigh in on Pension Reform

A Monday night town hall meeting on pension reform generated a debate both at the meeting and on Patch.

Readers Weigh in on Pension Reform

Monday night's meeting in Wilmette on pension reform draw a wide array of debate and opinions — both at the actual meeting and in the comment section of Patch. 

Illinois' credit rating was downgraded to an A- at the end of January by Standard & Poor, making it the lowest out of the fifty states. The low rating is, in large part, due to the state's pension debt, which is currently at $95 billion. 

Monday night's meeting aimed to discuss Senate Bill 35 (SB35) and House Bill 98 (HB98), which both aim to end the "long, bitter impasse over pension reform at the state Capitol by combining what has been proposed by business, labor, legislators and civic groups with some new ideas," according to a hand-out passed out before the meeting began. 

Some attendees, however, felt that the cuts included in the bill would be unfair to teachers and public school employees. 

"As I found out in life, you don't make promises you will not keep," commenter Herman Gulley wrote. "People plan for their future based on promises made to them. I've worked for the Village of Winnetka for 30+ years for a pension of $3000 a month. No health insurance. In those 30+ years, I've been exposed to asbestos, harmful chemical agents, etc."

Some people felt that the teachers that spoke out at the event were in the wrong. 

"They clearly had turned on each other based on the pension forum last night," commenter Wire Points wrote. "The most startling thing to see was the teachers and municipal employees going after fellow Democrats like Robyn Gabel and Dan Biss. They dripped with disdain for anybody showing sympathy to the private sector, corporations taxpayers and any adjustment in pensions whatsoever. Our state rep Robyn Gabel, especially, had been a darling of the wacky left. Now they hate her because she supported reduction in the automatic 3% annual pension increase."

The bills in the House and Senate have yet to be voted on. 

What would you like to see happen with the Illinois pension system? Let us know in the comments!

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