is Enough

Enough is Enough! 2018 is the Right Time to Fix Illinois’ Fiscal Crisis

  • 17.01.2018
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“The time is always right to do what is right.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King delivered this logical, astute statement on October 22, 1964 within his speech on “The Future of Integration” at Oberlin College.  As we take time this January to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King, remember the hope he inspired in millions and reflect on the potent effect his profound words have instilled in many generations, Americans and Illinoisans are also seeking meaning, reason and sense within the political atmosphere frustrating so many from all realms.  I certainly am, and in my mind, this statement resonates as much today as ever.

I’m deeply worried, daily, about Illinois’ fiscal crisis, and this month, I’m reflecting on this wisdom from Dr. King within that context.  The time is right to ensure our frailest elders receive dignified care they have earned through many decades they worked supporting the well-being and security of Illinois and our nation.   The time is right to ensure Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens can live in a safe and secure environment.  The time is right to ensure Illinois’ schoolchildren receive a great education no matter where they live in Illinois.  The time is right to ensure our public universities are top notch and affordable, our roads, bridges, buildings, sidewalks and all other infrastructure are safe/maintained, and our businesses have the tools and workforce needed to strengthen and improve our economy.

Illinois’ fiscal crisis negatively impacts all of this and much, much more.  The backlog of unpaid bills remains over $8.5 billion. Late interest owed is approaching $1 billion.  Unfunded public pension obligations have reached $130 billion.  Illinois’ credit rating is 50th in the nation and near junk status.  Property taxes are the highest in the nation.

Enough is Enough!  While the Illinois General Assembly passed a budget for fiscal year 2018, a tremendous amount of work must be done to fix these and the remainder of the long list of problems caused by the crisis.  Throughout 2018, AARP Illinois will continuously keep Illinoisans’ informed regarding what is happening in the capital and encouraging all to continue to put pressure on state elected officials.  We encourage you to use this website to share your story, your concerns, offer solutions, learn of latest actions and be active in making a difference.

You can make a major difference reminding politicians over and over again that “the time is always right to do what is right.”

Ryan Gruenenfelder

AARP Illinois Director of Advocacy & Outreach


4 responses to “Enough is Enough! 2018 is the Right Time to Fix Illinois’ Fiscal Crisis”

  1. George Weckbacher says:

    Now is the time to put an end to pensions and move all employees to 401K programs the same as industry does. Place all pension programs as they stand now and give them what they have earned after they they retire. Let the employees start use 401k packages from her on out . They should get 3% match the same as industry gets.
    We need to stop the pension programs now or we will never be able to pay for them in the future.

  2. George Weckbacher says:

    Why does the state pay money to school districts when they have their own tax base for to pay for what they need. This extra money that the state pays school districts is unregulated and we do not have the right to approve the extra taxes that we are levied.

  3. George Weckbacher says:

    We should abolish the pension districts that every tax district has as we do not have the ability to vote on the assessments. This is taxation without representation and should be illegal under the constitution.

  4. Thomas K Johnson says:

    The Illinois Constitution contains a clause that MUST be REMOVED or CHANGED before we can fix the state’s financial mess. This clause (see below) assures that the compounded 3 percent annual increases to teacher pensions will drain more and more taxpayer funds. I don’t want to see retired teachers living in poverty, but seeing the growing number of teachers receiving yearly pensions above $100,000 (and growing by 3 percent compounded annually) is disturbing to say the least.

    We need to amend our state Constitution!

    Article XII of the Illinois Constitution

    Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

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