State Rep. Morrison shares Illinois teachers' 'grave concerns' about Pritzker's pension proposal
While Illinois’ state-funded pension system remains in tatters, Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently floated a proposal to boost the funds put into pension plans for Chicago teachers while giving the rest of the state’s public educators a “pension holiday.” At least one state legislator is crying foul.
“These sorts of practices are exactly what put us in this position in the first place,” state Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) said in a phone interview with North Cook News. He was referring to what the Illinois News Network reported is a plan to boost pension payments for Chicago teachers by $20 million while reducing contributions in the rest of the state by more than $500 million — with benefits for the non-Chicago teachers supposedly coming sometime down the line.
Morrison called the proposal a continuation of Illinois’ chronic problem of making promises to spend money without taking care of its current contractual obligations.
“This policy is a manifestation of that,” he said.
Morrison recently met with around 200 current and retired teachers in his district to hear them out first-hand.
“There were grave concerns among many,” he said, because they are losing their pension stability “and being given another IOU kind of promise.”
In fact, Morrison said, when he pointed out that teachers had endorsed Pritzker in his run for office and asked them if they were going to hold him and other elected officials responsible, the teachers said they intended to have discussions with the governor about the proposal.
“I’ve been saying all along that we have to make pension reform a reality for two reasons," said Morrison, who was first elected to the General Assembly in 2010. "One, because the current path is not sustainable. And two, we have to give current and potential Illinois residents the assurance that we can handle our current financial problems without raising taxes.”
Morrison said that taxes, while not the only issue, are a large reason why current residents and businesses are leaving the state, if only to go a few miles over a border, and why potential transplants to Illinois ultimately decide to go somewhere else.
Morrison represents the 54th District.