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Readers Weigh in on Pension Reform

A Monday night town hall meeting on pension reform generated a debate both at the meeting and on Patch.

Monday night's meeting in Wilmette on pension reform draw a wide array of debate and opinions — both at the actual meeting and in the comment section of Patch. 

Illinois' credit rating was downgraded to an A- at the end of January by Standard & Poor, making it the lowest out of the fifty states. The low rating is, in large part, due to the state's pension debt, which is currently at $95 billion. 

Monday night's meeting aimed to discuss Senate Bill 35 (SB35) and House Bill 98 (HB98), which both aim to end the "long, bitter impasse over pension reform at the state Capitol by combining what has been proposed by business, labor, legislators and civic groups with some new ideas," according to a hand-out passed out before the meeting began. 

Some attendees, however, felt that the cuts included in the bill would be unfair to teachers and public school employees. 

"As I found out in life, you don't make promises you will not keep," commenter Herman Gulley wrote. "People plan for their future based on promises made to them. I've worked for the Village of Winnetka for 30+ years for a pension of $3000 a month. No health insurance. In those 30+ years, I've been exposed to asbestos, harmful chemical agents, etc."

Some people felt that the teachers that spoke out at the event were in the wrong. 

"They clearly had turned on each other based on the pension forum last night," commenter Wire Points wrote. "The most startling thing to see was the teachers and municipal employees going after fellow Democrats like Robyn Gabel and Dan Biss. They dripped with disdain for anybody showing sympathy to the private sector, corporations taxpayers and any adjustment in pensions whatsoever. Our state rep Robyn Gabel, especially, had been a darling of the wacky left. Now they hate her because she supported reduction in the automatic 3% annual pension increase."

The bills in the House and Senate have yet to be voted on. 

What would you like to see happen with the Illinois pension system? Let us know in the comments!

Wire Points February 06, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Worth pointing out that the meeting was dominated by people from other communities. There are websites for the extremist pension protectors and they were stoking their readers to come prior to the meeting. I saw no locals among those making doing the histrionics. The locals got in only a few questions at the end, to the satisfaction of the organized outsiders, one of whom put it this way on their site: "The few non-teachers who spoke up at the end had their winter tans, expensive cotton shirts, and smirky frat boy attitudes …sent by the civic committee…..and showed they consider teachers to be nannies who deserved low benefits." If you doubt that those organized outsiders are nuts, take a look yourself at one of their sites: http://preaprez.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/interrogating-the-pension-bombers/#comments

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