CHICAGO, Illinois November 17, 2012 – Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has one tough battle ahead of him – one he believes is just as difficult as the one President Abraham Lincoln waged to abolish slavery in the 1860s:
Quinn, a history buff, was asked over the weekend if he had seen the new Steven Spielberg biopic, “
“I’ve already seen it. It’s an excellent movie,” remarked Quinn to the media. “If you want to see how Democracy works, see that movie. You will appreciate the battle to get pension reform if you see the movie and see how hard it was to abolish slavery and get that amendment for the people. And they went to great lengths to use the Democratic process properly.”
But using the Democratic process properly is the issue for Quinn.
The crisis of unfunded public pension liabilities is splitting the state in two, dividing brother against brother.
Special interests against the taxpayer.
But the Civil War-era comparisons do not end there.
“Pension reform is indispensable. I’m 63-years-old and I can say that my entire lifetime,
So will the schism of
Illinois, downgraded twice in the last year by Standard & Poors, has the worst credit rating in its history and is second only to California in poor credit.
Moody’s has rated Illinois worst-in-the nation.
Illinois pensions gobbled up $6.75 billion – almost all - of the state’s revenue this year. Next year, the cost will rise by another billion.
If President Obama and Congress cannot reach a deal on the fiscal cliff,
Just five years ago, the state’s unfunded pension obligations were only $20 billion. But this week, the Civic Federation of Chicago recently upgraded its estimate from $83 billion to a whopping $96.9 billion.
The out-of-control liability continues to grow with skipped payments, pension perks and early retirement.
Democrats have been in control of the state legislature since 1983 and strengthened their political hand on Nov. 6, gaining veto-proof supermajority control.
So the proverbial pension reform ball is once again in the Democrat’s court and to
Back on January 1, 2011, Illinois Democrats and Republicans joined in passing i.e. sneaking through a late night 67% increase in the personal income tax rate – the largest in the state’s history.
They promised it would be temporary.
But that was then, this is now.
Back in August, after the state legislature’s twice-failed attempts at pension negotiations, the Chicago Tribune asked in an editorial: What does ‘temporary’ really mean?
Does ‘temporary’ mean ‘permanent’?
Well, does it?
If Quinn and the Democrats go back on their word to
William J. Kelly is an Emmy award-winning TV producer and conservative columnist. He is also a contributor to the American Spectator and Breitbart.com. He is a native from
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