Statement from Rep Ron Sandack (R) on the downgrade of IL Credit rating by Fitch
I am profoundly disappointed with the General Assembly’s failure to enact meaningful pension reform during the final days of session and get that bill to the Governor for his signature. Our public pension system is in a state of crisis which threatens the integrity of the system, leaving retirees and active employees wondering if their pensions will be there when they need them. But the mere idea of another tax increase upon Illinois' taxpayers to shore up these systems is simply unimaginable. Taxpayers are tapped out.
Our inability to get real pension reform accomplished demonstrates a complete lack of leadership by the majority party; they have significant majorities in both chambers to pass a bill. The Governor too has some blame here as he has failed to champion a specific reform plan and use his office to get public support behind pension reform. The Illinois House did pass a comprehensive pension reform plan, Senate Bill 1, which would have meaningfully reformed the state’s pension system, made it sustainable for the foreseeable future, and restored fiscal solvency to these important benefit systems. The Illinois Senate, however, failed to pass this bill.
The credit rating agencies view the failure to enact comprehensive pension reforms as a catalyst to lower the state's general obligation bond rating once again – it is already the lowest in the nation and a source of extreme embarrassment.
Illinois and its taxpayers deserve far better. We need to return to Springfield and focus on getting pension reform right. This is costing the state approximately $17 million every day we do not act and threatens our state's financial future in a significant way.