SPRINGFIELD - What a difference the color of a state - or shall we say a state's politics ' makes in the way it handles its pension debt.
Despite the drama and hand-wringing over last week's pension reform proposal, dark blue Illinois is a long way from setting its budget and debt obligations onto the right course. As things look now, major changes such as revenue hikes (read tax increases), budget cuts or employee contributions must take place before Illinois can rest easy that the whole system won't collapse by 2022.
A thousand miles southwest, the bright red state of Texas is preparing to address pension and budget concerns they see farther down the road - as in 2052, and still they're concerned enough to propose raising employee contributions in order to avoid an Illinois-esque scenario.
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