Chamber Urges State Leaders to Pass Pension Reform During Veto Session
The following Letter to the Editor was featured on the Daily Herald's website today:
The Daily Herald’s November 25th article “Pension relief for suburbs?” is timely as the Illinois General Assembly is returning to Springfield to address public pension reform during the legislative veto session.
On behalf of the region’s business community, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce urges Governor Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly to act now to fix the state’s $98 Billion unfunded pension liability which costs taxpayers almost $7 Billion per year and consumes over twenty percent of the state’s total annual budget.
The business community can no longer tolerate procrastination on this critical issue. Unfunded pensions will fiscally cripple Illinois and the repercussions are most severe for local governments. If the pension crisis is not addressed, taxes would be raised and basic government services such as healthcare, education, and public safety would have to be cut. Employers require safe neighborhoods, quality schools, reliable transportation systems, and competitive property and sales tax rates to retain and create jobs. The pension crisis threatens all of these things and more.
Illinois has arrived at critical crossroads and our economic future is at risk. Hard decisions must be made and there must be alignment of accountability between units of government negotiating worker benefits and those responsible for paying for them. Therefore, the Chicagoland Chamber urges collaboration between state leaders and local governments to achieve comprehensive pension reform, protecting taxpayers and making Illinois a competitive place to do business once again. Our elected leaders are ultimately responsible for addressing tough issues that threaten our fiscal standing. We know that meaningful change doesn’t come easy, but we trust and hope that our leaders in Springfield will be honest and forthright about the current challenge.
John A. Carpenter, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
312.494.6736 / jcarpenter@ChicagolandChamber.org
Click here to download a PDF version of the Letter to the Editor.
About the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
The primary role of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is to make Chicagoland the most business-friendly region in America by enhancing our members’ success through aggressive programs in advocacy, member benefits and services, and actionable information. Serving as “The Voice of Business” since 1904, the Chamber leads aggressive public policy and business growth initiatives and we create meaningful events and programs to inform, engage, and connect our members to each other and the community. Visit ChicagolandChamber.org.