Wilcox demands 'swift action' on state's pension crisis
Republican state Senate candidate Craig Wilcox is calling for quick action by lawmakers to correct the state’s pension crisis.
An analysis by Wirepoints.com, a research website that focuses on Illinois’ economy and government, recently found that the crisis has been driven by overpromising benefits and not underfunding.
"For generations, Illinois politicians have promised far more than they could deliver," Wilcox told the McHenry Times in an email. “Their malfeasance has led to an unfunded pension liability that outpaces the rate of the state's economic growth by nearly eight-fold.”
Wilcox, who is running for Senate in the 32nd District against Democrat Mary Mahady, is also a retired Air Force colonel and a McHenry County board member and has some ideas on what the state must do to change course and remedy its pension problems.
“Among the immediate fixes that we MUST do to stop the bleeding is take swift action to move all new state and public sector employees into self-managed 401-k style [sic] plans,” he said. “This move is necessary to save the pension systems and give us a chance to work through a solution to the insolvent pension crisis.”
Wilcox also believes lawmakers must stop raising taxes, as it has only driven residents out of the state leaving more financial pressure on those who remain.
"If the pension system is reformed in ways that do not borrow from the futures of all Illinoisans, then we can be able to start to drive down property taxes and reduce income taxes,” he said. “However, if the tax and spend status quo [sic] get their way, we should expect to see property taxes and income taxes rise to levels unimaginable.”
By reforming the pension system, the state can begin to recover and taxpayers will start to feel the relief that they deserved long ago, he said.
"The state is failing to meet its duties and responsibilities in so many areas, but it's time we cut back on spending and send tax dollars back to the pockets from which they came,” Wilcox said. “Ultimately, the prospect of alleviating this crushing tax burden is reason enough for Springfield to do something about the runaway train that this pension crisis resembles.”