Illinois' pension deficit is a concern that is growing exponentially year after year. It's not unusual to hear complaints about the situation and the crisis looming. What is unusual are practical ideas on how the situation could be addressed to turn things around.
Illinois Review reader James Mitchell offered some ideas in recent communication with us. Mitchell is retired from the city of Highland Park as a Class A licensed Portable Water Plan Operator after 22 years of employment – someone in the state's pension system.
Mitchell suggests Governor Pritzker could start fixing the Illinois Pension problem by signing into law, affecting to 2020 elections and thereafter during his term as Governor:
- No elected official shall be eligible for any retirement compensation or retirement healthcare because of their election in 2020 or 2021.
- No person appointed to any leadership position in Illinois that does not last more than 10 years shall be eligible for any retirement compensation or retirement healthcare.
- Any incumbent seeking reelection in 2020 or 2022 shall not have their existing retirement compensation or retirement healthcare added to or increased.
- Any person elected or appointed shall be entitled to keep their private accumulated retirement compensation or retirement healthcare; and, no governmental additions – matching, or death benefit or otherwise shall be made at any time to them or their estate or surviving spouse.
- Leadership appointments shall include individuals reporting to any elected or appointed board that is financed with any local, state or federal tax dollars.
Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Democrats in control of the Illinois General Assembly are moving forward with their solution of keeping the status quo on Illinois pensions. Instead of reform, they are pushing to remove the state's flat tax in order to place reportedly place more of the unpaid pension obligations on those making over $250,000 a year – a questionable, unverifiable boundary.
And one that doesn't work.
What are the chances that the Democrats would tap into James Mitchell's ideas? What would you suggest as possible remedies for the state's financial system?