To the Editor:
I would like to share a letter that I wrote and sent to Illinois legislators concerning Illinois budget issues.
The fiscal problem the State of Illinois is facing today is not due to overly generous pension and health benefits, but is due to the skyrocketing pension debt services created by the Pension Ramp Law of 1995.
Over these years, elected officials from both parties have diverted funds that were legally mandated for the pensions as a means for funding education and social programs.
Instead of changing the tax structure to allow for the funding of these programs, they used the pensions as a credit card. If the pensions had been funded as required by law, these pensions would be fiscally sound today, this in spite of the recession recreated by Wall Street.
In conclusion, the Illinois Legislature needs to revisit the Pension Ramp, and re-amortize the pensions debt service. It needs to change the tax structure to one that is more progressive. Loopholes for corporations need to be scrutinized for benefits being received.
Also, all programs need to be analyzed for actual need and effectiveness. By doing this, the State will find itself with a more fiscally sound budget and in the process will meet its constitutional requirement of not diminishing state retiree pensions and benefits.