Pension reform remains a hot topic for Michelle Smith, the Republican candidate for the District 49 state Senate seat, who took to social media to speak out after the passage of a new state law that prohibits elected county officials from collecting state pensions.
"I have been an elected official for over seven years," Smith said. "I have never received a salary, pension or insurance benefits. Running for office is about serving your community. It should not be about collecting any benefits. These are part-time jobs; they should not come with full-time benefits. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for these. Pensions should be eliminated for ALL elected officials in Illinois."
While Smith is adamant that elected officials should not be eligible for pensions, she had more compassionate words for retirees and state employees. Smith agreed that pension reform is needed, but the state has an obligation to its employees and retirees who are under the current pension plan.
"First, we need to honor the promises that we have made to our state employees," Smith said. "Retiring workers have planned their entire lives around that money and are counting on it to support themselves after they stop working. We need to fully fulfill our current pension obligations. Second, our state must stop making promises it can’t keep. New state workers should move to a defined-contribution plan just like the private sector."