by Mark Suppelsa
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Great contribution by WGN to the debate!
Disturbing for anyone in the state including state workers.
The overall series reinforced my belief that the only real solution is to convert the pensions to a 401K system. I believe that this can only be done by involving the unions. The big mistake was made in the 1970 constitution and that needs to be amended.
Almost every abuse in the system would disappear under a 401K plan.
But big incentives need to be given to the rank and file to convert. A 25% of income funding plan with 8% from the employee and 17% from the state would assure a substantial retirement for the individual employees. Because it is a stated contribution, it cannot be deferred by the state. An $80K year employee could walk away with $2.75 million in their fund after 30 years instead of $60K year pension that may fail.
Finally, maybe the most haunting question was from a senior who asked the rhetorical question "whether the state will start shifting costs to the local school districts and will that cause a mass exodus of people with the most to lose from the state – homeowners and retirees to more tax friendly states…!"
The retirees and rank & file union need to ask themselves what good is their present plan if it destroys the state and forces people to flee, further jeopardizing whatever benefit they have?
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Pick any survey, any study and you’ll find Illinois ranks dead last in the country with the amount of money owed to public pensions. It’s a scary number.
Yet what’s even more frightening is there no painless solution.
And even though the state’s politicians have for years led us down this dark road, along the way they never failed to line the pension pockets of their cronies and political supporters.
Our WGN investigations have exposed all of these expensive and sometimes illegal pension games.
Join us Monday as we revisit who we’ve exposed and also press these state leaders on how they’re fixing the mess.
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