Will the definition of revenue “balance,” in this context, create a conflict between the public and private sectors’ interests? Is it true that the only solution (SB 512) proposed right now for the state’s budget problems is a choice for public employees to reduce their constitutionally-guaranteed pensions? “Fiduciary duty” entails confidence and trust. Is it secondary to maximizing investments for the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Civic Federation, and cash flow for the State of Illinois?
"The facts are indisputable. Over the next 30 years, the state will owe retirees in excess of $140 billion, but Illinois has less than $54 billion in the bank right now to meet those long-term obligations,” Ingram said. Of course, this projected “excess” to be owed by the state includes the rising service debt or unfunded liability that the State of Illinois is largely responsible for because it has not fully fund the TRS system and the other four major public pension systems for decades.
Do any public employees prefer that the State of Illinois default on the money it owes to the public pension systems and not uphold its contractual obligations? Do any other citizens of Illinois believe that the state has the means to pay all of its debts, without punishing public employees for the past reprehensible actions of some corrupt governors, legislators, and other unethical decision-makers, if it implemented the already-proven methods for enhancing revenue flow used in other states?
Thus far, “shared sacrifice” has targeted only the middle class, of whom public employees are members, and the poor that must continue to abdicate their hard-earned money and pay more taxes because of Illinois' inefficient state government. Few people consider the fact that throughout the years state “services” were provided primarily because of the reallocation of public pension monies to those demands. Perhaps an important question to ask is whether the “party of the privilege” (the Civic Committee, et al.) had anything to do with the state’s unreliable contributions to the public pension systems all these years? In other words, whether past legislative irresponsibility enabled certain self-serving legislators (that were funded quite generously through legalized and normalized bribery) to displace public pension money to those very “special interests” (or business groups) without raising taxes on corporations and electorates.
One might ask how far apart is “what it will cost” and “what ‘we’ can afford?” Surely, there are many political games that can be played with accounting rules and the legality of pension matters to deceive retirees and current employees about their pension systems’ liability.
Though Article XIII, Section 5 isn’t a mathematical equation, it has helped prevent public employees from sinking into the quicksand of this rather indeterminate “common ground.” Impelled by the Chicago Tribune’s yellow journalism, the Civic Committee’s ingenuous Illinois Is Broke, and the Civic Federation's skewed data, it is apparent that most legislators, moguls, and a swindled portion of the public want the Illinois pensions defunct.