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Is There a Solution for Illinois' Pension Crisis?

State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) has proposed that Illinois keep its current tax hike of 5 percent to fund all five pension sectors indefinitely.

In 2011, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn increased state income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent. The increase was supposed to expire in 2014, but state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) wants to keep that tax hike indefinitely - it's his solution for repaying the $97 billion owed to all five pension sectors in Illinois, the State Journal-Register reported.

Under Lang's plan, state workers would be required to pay an additional 3 percentage points into their pensions and the minimum retirement age for full pension benefits would be 67-years-old, the Journal-Register stated.

However, there are other proposals, but Lang is calling them "unconstitutional" because they would change cost-of-living benefits for retirees.

"We need a pension plan that will not end up in the courts," Lang told the Journal-Register. "It's a plan that doesn't take anyone's benefits away."

In five years, Illinois' unpaid pension bills will reach $22 billion if no action is taken by lawmakers, Crain's Chicago Business reported.  That would make the state the "worst-in-the-nation" regarding its pension predicament, the publication reported.

State Rep. Elaine Nexritz (D-Northbrook) has her own pension reform plan. The six-term-rep said she has some concerns over Lang's proposal, adding that income tax increases won't solve Illinois' pension crisis.

What do you think?

How should lawmakers solve the state's current pension fiasco? Quinn has stood behind Senate Bill 1, which would require the state - and all its pension systems - "to be 100 percent funded by 2043."

Post a comment below to share your thoughts.

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Barbarra Kenning February 27, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Lang has a fair suggestion.I have been fraying since 1976. At that time I earned $7700 tot eleven. Months. My second year's salary was $9900. Third $10400 and forth was $11200. We as teachers knew we would never be rich going into this profession however we have expected to receive a fair pension. The state like si many others looked at our contributions as free money that legislators could "borrow" from whenever Illinois needed a little infusion. It is unfair that those of us who have dedicated our lives to the children of Illinois be cheated and blamed as though we mismanaged funding.
LisaJoinPatch February 27, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Why is it that other states in our nation have much lower sales taxes, much lower property taxes, and much lower transportation costs? It has to be because of all the corruption in IL. Where has all our money gone? There is a reason we have two former governors serving time: Our politicians are corrupt. Independent auditors are what is needed to find out what has really happened to our money. Someone (or a group of "someones") have it! It does not matter how high our taxes are in IL. It will never be enough to fulfill our obligations because it is being mismanaged and/or stolen!
LisaJoinPatch February 27, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Barbarra, I agree. Those of us who have gone into public service did so with the understanding that although salaries would be low, a lifetime pension was waiting for us at the end. Promises must be kept. Raising taxes can't do it as long as the money is being mismanaged and/or stolen.
Brian Hickey April 13, 2013 at 04:41 AM
Ohhhhh Louuuuuu, My head hurts from all your brilliant ideas. I need some of that medical marijuana you keep wanting to legalize. If i was constantly high, Illinois corrupt politicians and their relentless taxation of it's citizens might hurt my brain a little less.
Brian Hickey April 13, 2013 at 04:43 AM
If we dumped the Madigans does that mean Illinois would no longer carry the moniker Madighanistan?

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