Target: Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois
Goal: Oppose unconstitutional pension reform bill to protect retired teachers
Illinois lawmakers approved a pension reform bill that cuts retirement benefits for public service workers, and public school teachers are among the hardest hit. Many of the state’s retired teachers have contributed 9% of their yearly salary to the pension fund throughout their 35-year teaching careers. Not only has the state government failed to contribute its promised share, but it has also borrowed from the pension fund to pay other state bills.
Over recent years, the Illinois state government has racked up $100 billion in debt. The state House and Senate have voted in favor of the pension cuts, at the expense of public school teachers, nurses, police officers, and social workers. This plan cuts the cost of living increases for retirees and lowers the amount that current employees contribute. Although this is a small concession for current teachers, retirees stand nothing to gain.
The average retired teacher with 30 years of service will lose $282,632 over the next 20 years. And the average Department of Children and Family Services case worker with 20 years of service will lose $261,215 over the next 20 years.
Teachers advocacy groups have promised to file suit against the state government if pension reforms go into effect because the state constitution protects state workers against pension cuts. Sign the below petition to urge Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn, to oppose this unconstitutional pension reform. Retired teachers do not deserve to suffer as a result of state government mismanagement that they had no part in.
Dear Governor Quinn,
Over a million public employees will lose significant portions of the retirement benefits they were promised if you sign this pension reform bill into law. The state’s public school teachers have been contributing a portion of their salary into the pension fund, only to find that their money has been spent and they’ve been lied to.
I am urging you to work with local teachers’ unions to find an amicable solution that treats public employees with the respect they deserve. Unions have already threatened to take legal action because of governmental deceit, mismanagement, and unconstitutional action.
Although other states have similar budgetary concerns, Illinois’ unfunded pension is considered to be the worst in the nation. Illinois’ credit rating is now the lowest in the country. You cannot reverse the wrongdoings of the state government’s past, but you can make better choices today and for the future. Let this be an opportunity to set a precedent for the rest of the country on how to solve a budget crisis and respect hardworking professionals who have dedicated their lives to public service.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: chrisjohnbeckett via Flickr