Who cares about Illinois’ pension mess? We’d better.
It's tough to get average Joes and Susans interested in the state's $80 billion in unpaid pensions. People are too busy working, feeding their kids, and paying their bills to pay too much attention. But it's urgent that we focus this week on the financial obligations our state lawmakers are making on our behalf with our hard-earned, tightly-stretched incomes.
The fact is, ultimately, unpaid pensions don't really hurt lawmakers or even state employees as much as they hurt taxpayers.
This YouTube below was released earlier this month, but we just found it. Produced by Illinois Policy Institute, its important message has tragically been lost to teachers' union ads filling the air waves, yanking the bleeding hearts of listeners not in tune and fully informed about Springfield issues. This ad is exactly what needs to get more exposure because it touches more than just conservatives' heads - it sends a message to average hearts. Something sorely missing in Springfield's current pension discussion.
While Illinois lawmakers made promises to their union campaign workers what the state would pay into their pensions, those same legislators ignored their obligations decade after decade while they used those promised funds to buy more tax-dependent constituents. Those dollars - taken from the wages of hard-working Illinoisans -- ultimately bought lawmakers more votes and more political clout. And today many of those same people continue to wield control over us all.
And who suffered the most? Not the unions - they got more taxpayer-funded jobs. Not the lawmakers - they got their jobs, their votes and their political clout. All along, taxpayers took the hit - the first time by paying taxes that were supposed to go to union pension funds. Now the taxpayers of Illinois will get hit a second time - paying the pension funds that weren't paid as promised the first time.
What will it take to make Illinois taxpayers angry enough to demand state government revolution and accountability? Are we so demoralized and desensitized that we will hang our heads and pay again and again, all the while shrugging away politicians' deceptive corruption and continue to let power-mad lawmakers abuse us?
Please take a moment and listen to this message below. It may cause your eyes to glaze over to think about pension reform, but it is crucial that you engage in this discussion. Yours, your children's and your grandchildren's future in Illinois are at stake.
Share this video and get the word out. Today, before it's too late.