Comments from 2014 primary candidates, including Bruce Rauner, Doug Truax, Jeff McKinley, Jim Wozniak -
Doug Truax, GOP candidate for U.S. Senate -
"Illinois is the worst run state in America due to a political class — largely Democrats — that consistently fails to put the interests of everyday taxpayers first. My opponent in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, Jim Oberweis, knows this but voted anyway in favor of a tepid pension reform bill that is likely to result in further tax increases and a continued stagnant economy. Every other financial “fix” passed in Springfield the past decade has harmed taxpayers. Mr. Oberweis needs to explain why he so easily voted with the status quo that never solves problems but rather transfers them to the next generation."
GOP primary candidate for governor Bruce Rauner -
“Springfield politicians today voted to slap a small bandage on an open wound. While it may help them temporarily feel better, it does little to fix the real problems facing Illinois. The pension system remains broken and badly underfunded. State spending has never been higher, or less productive. Another tax hike is looming around the corner. State government is in desperate need of reform. Our economy continues to suffer, and far too many Illinoisans remain out of work. The fact is after decades of career politicians running things in Springfield, expectations of what Illinois can accomplish are far too low. We can and must do better. I’ll shake things up in Springfield and deliver results that will truly bring back Illinois.”
Candidate for House Jeff McKinley (R-Orion)
“In a prime example of why Illinois desperately needs new leadership in Springfield, legislators today passed a poor excuse for a pension ‘reform’ package.
“This package fails to reduce Illinois’ pension obligations long-term, it fails to prevent a dramatic new middle class tax hike, and it is estimated to only allow up to five percent of ‘Tier One’ public sector employees into a stable 401(k) style plan—an option that should be available to all employees.
“We’re staring down the barrel of an Illinois version of Obamacare—a major piece of legislation rushed through in a special Holiday session with little to no chance for public input or review. It is tremendously unlikely that reducing employee contributions by one percent would in any way make the pension system more sustainable. The effects of this, the maintenance of certain early retirement options, and other fiscal ideas proposed in this bill should be studied and reviewed in a public and transparent manner.
“Some 20 years ago, we heard these promises before. Establishment Insiders are today promising that future general assemblies will keep Madigan-Quinn-Era promises for the next 30 years. These same Springfield Insiders have failed to keep their promises for the past 20 years; it’s absolutely ludicrous to trust the next 30 years of General Assemblies on faith alone.
“In essence, this plan amounts to an attempt to repair a broken leg with an aspirin, and Illinois deserves better.
“As for my Democrat Incumbent opponent, he has bowed to his big-money Union Boss donors and gone where the money led him. The central flaw in this bill is that it fails to make substantial enough reforms, but Public Sector Union Bosses, in their signature intransigence, are insisting that this plan changes too much. Mike Smiddy, in his bought-and-paid-for manner, has jumped on board with them in their crusade to maintain the status quo.
“If elected to serve the 71st district, I promise to fight for real pension reform that will legitimately serve the needs of Illinois families. I will fight for a plan that will both save taxpayers money and secure the future of Illinois’ public sector workers.
Jim Wozniak, GOP candidate for 71st State Representative -
"While I would support some provisions of this bill, I fear that it only delays the inevitable economic calamity facing Illinois, and could in fact make it worse.”
“There are long time retirees that will now be getting mere cents on the dollar for their pensions in Detroit. A similar fate is still on table in Illinois. This bill does very little in stopping the behavior of some State workers who have already rigged the system in their favor and receive benefits far in excess of the average retiree.”
“Michigan also has a constitutional guarantee that pensions are not to be reduced, and yet just yesterday a Federal judge declared that bankruptcy law trumps that guarantee,” Wozniak stated. “Mike Smiddy opposing this bill because of a fear of a lawsuit from unions sends the wrong message to the People of Illinois. The current system is unsustainable. Change must occur, or drastic results like those that have happened in Detroit will also happen in Illinois. Mr. Smiddy has offered no other solution to the problem.”