"Bold steps are needed to tackle the growing state budget problem
and the estimated $83 billion unfunded pension liability," said
Philip Nelson, president of the Illinois Farm Bureau. "The
ever-increasing cost of providing necessary care to Illinois
residents through Medicaid needs to be addressed. We credit the
governor for putting forward a plan to do that."
The governor has
also stepped forward to call for the Legislature to tackle the
state's unfunded pension liabilities.
"It is not easy for someone to take on the pension system, and we
commend the governor for doing that," Nelson said. "If the state's
pension liability is not addressed, it will further draw the state's
budget into a bigger hole. This will lead to a continuation of a
business climate in Illinois that is not attractive for businesses
to locate or expand here."
Legislative leadership on these issues also cannot be ignored.
Leaders in all caucuses have been working diligently to craft reform
packages. The Illinois Farm Bureau recognizes that leadership and
encourages legislative leaders and the governor to continue their
work to address the Medicaid and pension issues.
Illinois Farm Bureau members have had a long-standing belief,
expressed in the organization's polices set by the members through a
democratic process, that Medicaid eligibility requirements for
Illinois residents should be established in a fair and equitable
"Calling upon the members of the General Assembly to review the
current system and bring about reform is necessary for carrying out
the beliefs of our members," Nelson said.
Also contained in the organization's polices is a belief that the
state needs to bring about vital and long-lasting reform of the
state's pension systems to turn around Illinois' fiscal climate.
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"The fiscal crisis in the state of Illinois casts a huge cloud
over the state and its economy," Nelson said. "Once pension reforms
are approved and implemented, Illinois' economy should strengthen
Nelson added that fixing both the Medicaid and state pension
systems is necessary and commendable.
"We realize this will not be an easy task, but we encourage Gov.
Quinn and the members of the Illinois General Assembly to accomplish
this goal in the next several weeks," Nelson said. "We must all
stand up and let our state elected officials know that we support
their efforts to bring about this critical reform."
The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau
Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded
in 1916, IFB is a nonprofit membership organization controlled by
farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total
membership of more than 420,500, a voting membership of 82,973 and
represents 2 out of 3 Illinois farmers.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Farm Bureau]