Public Blames Politicians
- Illinois voters overwhelmingly blame politicians for creating the state's public employee pension mess, but like elected officials, they're divided about plans to fix the problem, a new Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll shows.
The survey also found that Downstate and suburban residents oppose a major push by Democrats including Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn to gradually shift the costs of teacher retirement benefits on to local school districts outside Chicago.
The issue of public employee pensions is a significant one for Illinois as well as for Chicago and the suburbs. The state has the largest unfunded pension liability in the nation, at least $83 billion. The practical effect: Ratings agencies downgraded the state's creditworthiness because of lawmakers' failure to address the problem, including a do-nothing special legislative session in August. It could cost the state more to borrow money.
If Illinois was a low-tax, business friendly state, a broader tax base would enable gradual reformation and a less painful bite at existing tax revenues. Of course, expecting Illinois politicians to make choices to cut entitlement programs and take a smaller slice of the corruption pie for a decade or two might be too much to ask.
Labels: money questions