"Gov. Quinn's remarks today were disappointing on many levels, and demonstrate just how out of touch he is with the realities facing Illinois.
The top three issues in Illinois are pensions, jobs and taxes. Yet Quinn dedicated most of his remarks to talking about issues that have little bearing on our economic or fiscal health and instead appease special interests.
In our Illinois, the reality is:
- Illinois currently owes $95 billion in pension debt alone. Under new accounting rules, that number is more accurately pegged at $200 billion.
- None of Illinois' five pension systems have enough assets on hand to pay benefits to those who have already retired, let alone those still working.
- Pension inaction costs Illinois $21 million per day.
- The unemployment rate is 8.7 percent, leaving 575,000 Illinoisans out of work. If Illinois' economy was growing at least at the same pace as our neighboring states, then 100,000 more Illinoisans would have a job.
- The gross domestic product, or GDP, ranked 45th nationally from 2000 to 2010.
- Illinois has the fourth-highest corporate income tax in the nation.
- Even before the 2011 state income tax hike, Illinois had the ninth-highest overall tax burden per capita in the nation.
"Every morning, half a million Illinoisans wake up and can't go to work because they don't have a job. Thousands of parents put their kids on a bus to a school that is failing. And residents all across the state sit around the kitchen table talking about how to make ends meet, but because of politicians' recklessness they must send an increasingly larger amount of their income to Springfield. We cannot afford more half-measures or distractions.
It's time for Illinois to embrace pension reform that gets politicians' hands off workers' retirements, spending reform that returns money to taxpayers and pro-growth policies that will make Illinois No. 1 in economic outlook and job creation."