Quinn Launches Pension Campaign

The state's public workers' pension squeeze is now the subject of a website established by the governor and aimed at the public.

Credit State of IL

Gov. Pat Quinn says stalling has gone on long enough. He thinks legislative leaders don't need convincing that pensions are a crucial matter for state government.
The administration has set up a website, www.ThisIsMyIllinois.com, which explains the issue. The gist of it is that long-neglected pension funds now demand such large contributions from taxpayers each year that everything else is getting squeezed out. For example, in 2008, pension payments consumed 6 percent of the state budget; in the current year, pensions will consume 16 percent of the budget.

It's part of the Chicago Democrat's long-awaited campaign to build support for an overhaul to Illinois' pension systems. It's called the ``Thanks in Advance'' campaign, which is supposed to be a message from the next generation to today's politicians.

The website includes pictures of young children and a video, along with links to Twitter and Facebook. The website says there'll be online town hall meetings on the issue.

Quinn is sticking with the plan he introduced in April: Raising the retirement age for most job titles, requiring greater contributions by employees, limiting cost-of-living adjustments, and requiring government bodies such as school boards and university trustees to be on the hook for the pensions they award. In exchange, the state would be bound to commit the actuarially determined dollar amount to pensions each year.