Dupage Policy Journal

Dupage Policy Journal

Monday, October 14, 2019

Pension reform should be top priority, Ives says

Local Government

By Glenn Minnis | Sep 16, 2019

Congressional candidate Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton)

Former Illinois state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) considers Illinois’ pension funding crisis to be an unnecessary evil rather than an irreversible situation.

“All the bills that affect good pension reform have been filed,” Ives told the DuPage Policy Journal. “I’ve filed bills from 2013 on that have not been heeded. We know how to solve this problem, and the start is to move all new hires into a 401k plan and that needs to be mandated. If we could start there, that would show we’re taking it seriously.”

A new Tax Foundation report finds the state now ranks third to last in the nation in funded ratio of public pensions. At just 38 percent, Illinois ranks No. 48, ahead of only New Jersey and Kentucky, based on figures that were calculated by comparing the market value of the pension fund’s assets to its accrued pension liabilities.

U.S. Congressman Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove)

“Fixing pensions is job one,” said Ives, who recently launched her campaign against U.S. Congressman Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) in the 14th District. “We can’t provide services when pensions are taking up so much. Nothing was said about pension reforms in the first session when the governor had the most political capital.”

Ives said pretty much everyone but the governor and his cohorts seems to understand the seriousness of the situation.

"Even the mayor of Chicago [Lori Lightfoot] understands how desperately everybody needs pension reform, and we’ll see if she provides leadership on the issue that all other municipalities have asked for,” Ives said. “Everyone should be concerned. In the end, this hurts everybody. Nobody benefits and until we fix the pension problems, things won’t change.”

Ives, who narrowly lost to then Gov. Bruce Rauner in the 2018 Republican primary, is set to face former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti in the 2020 GOP primary.

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