Letter to the Editor: A Pension Balance Both Parties Can Agree Upon

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Letter to the Editor:

A Pension Balance that Republicans and Democrats can agree upon.

As noted in the suburban newspapers recently, Mayor Emanuel testified in front of the Pension Committee that he was requesting a 10 year moratorium on the 3 percent annual increase on teacher’s pensions paid for by the City of Chicago.

It is obvious that since the Mayor is responsible for paying these pensions, he has sought financial advice and understands the consequences of yearly increases which over time become unsustainable. If coupled with reasonable age requirements for retirement, his suggestion would go a long way in saving the pension plans that are currently in place as well as for future pensioners.

Instituting this moratorium and adjustment of retirement age would be key components in saving the pension system as we know it today versus a complete financial crisis further down the road which would have dire repercussions for all state wide pension systems. In addition, the Governor has pushed to require each school board to begin funding teacher’s pensions. This push, without significant reform, will be “dead on arrival” to all property owners who, quite frankly, do not have the where-with-all to absorb the significant increase in the property taxes that would be required.

Much talk has been centered on the adoption of a 401K type system for all government employees. However, there has been no presentation of the forecast of benefits or consequences to the taxpayers, municipalities or employees for this proposal.

Further, the State over many years has been collecting taxes and paying into the pension plans. These State funds must continue to go into the pension plans and not be squandered on additional ill-advised government spending if there is to be any hope of funding pensions in the future.

If done properly, I believe that there is a solution to the pension problems of Illinois. But, this cannot be accomplished by “smoke-and-mirrors,” “a wink of the eye,” and a “nod of the head.” A lot of significant details will need to be changed. This is something that all Republicans and Democrats should diligently work for without exploiting the residents of Illinois in the process.

Dick Furstenau  
Naperville, IL 60563




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