CHICAGO – August 16, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn issued the following statement on Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair.
“Today, as Illinois republicans rally at the State Fair, I urge them to rise to the occasion to pass comprehensive pension reform in Illinois.
“At the end of the spring session, republican leaders, who have long advocated for fiscal responsibility, supported a similar proposal that is now being sponsored by Rep. Elaine Nekritz. To ease republican concerns, we have extended the phase-in period to allow school districts and universities to assume their own negotiated salary costs over 12 years. This extended phase-in period will ensure that school districts and universities are responsible for their compensation packages, while preventing property tax increases.
“The statutorily-required pension payments guaranteed under the 1995 ramp make it very clear: inaction on pension reform is the greatest threat to property taxpayers.
“This fiscal year, the General Assembly cut education by $210 million. These cuts impact our students, while placing tremendous pressure on our school districts, universities and property taxpayers.
“Universities have indicated, in a public letter, that they support the Nekritz proposal and are willing to accept the phased-in cost realignment.
“Without comprehensive pension reform, Illinois is on track to spend more on pensions than education by fiscal year 2016. This is an unsustainable path that will not only shortchange our children when it comes to quality education, but also make the problem worse. Illinois’ unfunded liability will grow to $92 billion next year without bold action.
“Tomorrow, republicans and democrats have an opportunity to be honest with the taxpayers of our state. I urge them to put politics aside, rescue Illinois from empty promises that led to skyrocketing pension costs and pass comprehensive pension reform.”