SPRINGFIELD…State Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) voted against Senate Bill 1300 signed into law this week by Governor Pritzker. The plan to consolidate nearly 650 fire and police pension funds around the state was opposed by the legislators from this region of the state.
“Illinois needs comprehensive pension reform to address our unfunded liabilities and obligations. This is merely a half-measure that does not adequately address our larger problem,” said Rep. Bailey. “I don’t trust Chicago Democrat politicians to make wise decisions for our downstate police and firefighter pension funds. After all, their track record on this issue is deplorable.”
Illinois’ five pension systems have an estimated combined unfunded liability of nearly $200 billion. That’s because Democrats like Rod Blagojevich and Mike Madigan have regularly skipped required payments to expand the size government and increase spending for new programs.
The Constitution states plainly that pension benefits earned, “cannot be diminished.” If Governor Pritzker’s police and fire pension scheme fails to produce the “rosy-picture” investment returns included in the task force’s report, then police and firefighters may see local pension fund debt go up instead of down, and property tax payers may see property taxes go up, not down.
The Governor’s plan requires a new combined asset fund to be invested in riskier, higher-volatility financial instruments to achieve the estimated higher returns on investment.
“I heard from many of my local firefighters and police who are also suspicious of this scheme, which is why I opposed this plan that puts police and fire pension funds at a higher risk,” added Bailey. “Not all municipalities have done a poor job managing their police and fire pension funds. In fact, some have done a very good job and do not want their funds put at risk.”