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Pension reform needed now

Updated: June 7, 2012 8:18AM

It’s time for politicians to sit down and statesmen to stand up.

Opinions seem to be finally changing in Springfield — I see leadership moving in a positive direction to enact meaningful reforms to the main program suffocating Illinois financially: public pensions. This must get done.

I’ve been extremely vocal about my concerns over our massively unfunded pension and retiree health-care liabilities — our debt trajectory is unsustainable.

My hope is the Legislature will accomplish substantial pension reform in the next month.

Illinois is heading in the direction of a financial disaster — escalating pension costs are eating away at our ability to fund even the closest-held, core values of most Illinoisans like education and public safety. Some of the financial burden we carry has been out of our control, but much of it has been brought on ourselves by years of inaction in Springfield.

Gov. Pat Quinn and I have not always agreed on some key issues, but these differences are for another day.

Today, I stand with the governor in believing that meaningful, constitutional and fair pension reform must occur during this legislative session.

Responsible budgeting is an arduous and sometimes thankless task — but nothing in state government is more essential. I invite all elected leaders to join me in rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. Illinois deserves nothing less.

Dan Rutherford,

Illinois treasurer

No savings in clinic plan

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plans to consolidate 12 city clinics into six will not save the city any money.

All this will do is make life even more difficult for those who are already in need of help for mental conditions. Because of state cuts, there are already waiting lists for people who want or need help.

The mayor would just be shifting the needy from these clinics and the streets to the clinics in the county jail. Costs are much higher to care for someone incarcerated than for outpatient service. So taxpayers will pay more and people who are in need of mental health care will be in jail instead of clinics.

Kathleen E. Smith, Austin

Hitting his stride

Indianapolis has the Indy 500. Chicago can now lay claim to the Konerko 400.

Raymond F. Stoiber, Joliet

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