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Letter: Parallel solutions to pension problem

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

I think Shaw Media almost got it right ("Our View: Advantage Madigan on pension plans," May 14). They got the percentages right; what they missed was who should pay the bill.My reasoning? The editorial endorses Madigan's plan, which puts all the burden on Illinois' public employees, current and already retired

However, since the pension funds shortfall was caused entirely by our elected representatives' decisions not to budget contributions to the pension funds in a timely manner, all those eligible to vote in Illinois – including current public-sector employees and retirees – should share in retiring the debt run up by our representatives.

Interestingly, we can do this by increasing the Illinois income tax in ways parallel to what Shaw Media endorses about the Madigan plan.

For instance, the editorial says, “We think public employees should pay more toward their pensions. Madigan’s plan increases by 2 percent what employees must contribute to their pensions.” An alternative, but parallel, solution would be to raise the Illinois income tax by 2 percent.

Likewise, the editorial says, “We like that Madigan’s plan caps the 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment to $1,000 per year of work, but think the percentage increase is too high.”

A parallel solution? Increasing the Illinois income tax by a percentage equivalent to what it will cost public employees in retirement if the salaries to which the COLA isapplied is capped at $1,000 per year of work.

Then, of course, we should demand the resignation of Madigan and all the other legislators who caused the problem in the first place requiring these tax increases in order to avoid reneging on the State's contracts and harming the people who do the state's work.

Robert SuchnerDeKalb

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