Times are tough for Illinois and its residents. Lawmakers made progress in recent years on a number of issues, but more can – and must – be done. First order of business is getting our budget under control and passing structural reforms to fundamentally change how business is conducted in our state.
We face a number of difficult issues, but the first thing we must do is get our fiscal house in order. Working to promote a better business climate in Illinois is a fundamental part of building a strong and prosperous state. A better business climate is one that is fair to employers and leads to the creation of jobs for Illinois citizens. Building a better business climate will not only encourage businesses already located in Illinois to expand and grow, but will also attract new business and create new opportunities.
The reality of Illinois’ dire fiscal condition finally seems to be sinking in for Democrat legislative leaders, after years of them ignoring our warnings. State lawmakers wrapped up the 2012 legislative session by passing Medicaid reforms that could result in billions of dollars in long-term savings, and working together to find a solution to Illinois’ massive pension liability.
We are continuing to address the state’s staggering $83 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, which threaten our fiscal solvency. I am a member of the bipartisan, bicameral Pension Work Group that has been working for many months to develop a comprehensive solution.
We have found common ground on many issues, but still need to work out our differences on a few key issues.
Pension reform has been one of my top priorities for many years. Illinois’ public retirement systems are consistently ranked as the most underfunded in the nation, and if significant changes are not made soon, our state’s already low credit ratings could receive additional downgrades.
Please contact me if you have questions or need more information about these or other issues. I look forward to hearing from you.