Legislators respond to governor's budget proposal
sets bad precedent for pension systems
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[FEB. 16, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- Any workers in Illinois
worried about their retirement should be concerned about this
Mitchell said Wednesday following the governor's fourth budget
"This basis of this budget is the continuation of an egregious raid
on the state pension systems," Mitchell said. "This year the
Democrats again plan to take $1.1 billion from the state pensions to
spend for new programs and pork projects. As a worker in the private
sector, I would be concerned that this governor might come after my
401k next. This budget sets a dangerous precedent for the workers of
Mitchell also criticized the governor for his plans to
increase spending by another $1.4 billion. "Many of his proposals
are good ideas that I might support if the state was flush with
money," he said. "Unfortunately, since the Democrats have taken
control of the executive mansion and both chambers of the Illinois
General Assembly, they have nearly doubled our state debt and have
no plans to begin paying the money back."
Mitchell said the governor's budget proposal doesn't even meet
the state's current obligations.
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"At the end of the year, Illinois will owe nearly $2 billion for
unpaid Medicaid bills," he said. "In addition he wants to increase
spending to create a new universal preschool program. While it
sounds great, 80 percent of our school districts are operating under
deficits, and many schools can't even afford full-day kindergarten
programs. Where is he going to get the money for these new programs?
While the economy is beginning to recover, we should be using this
opportunity to pay down our debt and try to do a better job of
meeting our existing obligations."
In addition, Mitchell said the ongoing raid of the pension system
will affect all taxpayers.
"Illinois is the worst state in the nation when it comes to
funding the state pension systems," he said. "For every pension
dollar the Democrats divert, taxpayers will have to pay $11 back,
for a total cost of $38 billion. At some point, it will be the
taxpayers who will be stuck paying a hefty bill with penalties
because of the Democrats' card mentality. The time is now for us to
say no to more borrowing and spending."
[News release from
Rep. Bill Mitchell,