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Tell them to quit wasting $17.1M per day : Editorials : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Tell them to quit wasting $17.1M per day
Contact Dem lawmakers now; urge them to prod their boss

1/17/2013


Last spring when the Democratic-controlled Illinois General Assembly took no action on public employee pension reform legislation we weren't surprised. After all, it was an election year and we didn't think that House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, would want to put his members' careers in political peril come November and the election.

But since every day another $17.1 million is added to the state's unfunded pension liability, we thought lawmakers would adopt some kind of piecemeal reform legislation during the recent lame duck veto session. To our surprise however, lawmakers managed this past week to kick the proverbial can further down the road and waste millions of more of our tax dollars by adjourning their lame duck session without taking any action.

The inaction makes us wonder where Governor Patrick Quinn is in the mess. Time and again, Quinn has shown himself to be a nice guy, but one who is also totally ineffectual in attempting to broker a pension reform deal with Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, another Chicago Democrat.

However, we're also certain Madigan remains the key to the passage of reform legislation. A bill will come forth when Mr. Madigan decides it will. That time hasn't happened yet. As veteran Springfield journalist Rich Miller wrote recently on his Capitol Fax website: "Here's the hard, simple truth about pension reform, or anything for that matter: Nothing difficult ever gets done unless House Speaker Michael J. Madigan pushes his members to vote for it. Period. End of story. And, so far, MJM is not working his members."

Miller has it exactly right. Madigan has ruled the General Assembly for most of four decades now and things won't happen until he decides. In the meantime, the meter on the state's unfunded pension liability continues to spiral upward into the stratosphere.

What can an ordinary taxpayer do? We would encourage them to contact their local Democratic lawmakers and urge them to prod their leader, Madigan, into action. There are now three Democratic lawmakers whose legislative districts extend into Kendall County. They are State Sen. Linda Holmes of Aurora, State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Terrant of Shorewood, and State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Aurora. Bertino-Terrant and Kifowit are freshmen and were just sworn-in last week. As a result, Madigan may not pay much attention to them. But it's worth a shot. Tell them you're past tired of them tossing out $17.1 million a day and you want them and their boss to do something about. At worst, you'll feel better for letting them know how you feel, at best they'll actually do something to fix this problem.

Holmes can be reached at her district office in Plainfield at 815-609-3711 or at her Springfield office at 217-782-0422. Her email address is holmes42@senatedem.illinois.gov. Contact Bertino-Terrant at 815-254-4211 and Kifowit at 630-585-1308.





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