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State’s pension fix is just a start

Illinois Rep. Greg Harris D-Chicago left is congratulated by lawmakers as gay marriage legislatipasses House floor during vesessiTuesday Nov. 5

Illinois Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, left, is congratulated by lawmakers as gay marriage legislation passes on the House floor during veto session Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, in Springfield Ill. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, top center, looks on. Lawmakers voted 61-54 to send the measure back to the Senate to change the bill's effective date, just a technical change since the chamber already approved the measure in February. The measure will then head to Governor Quinn, who has pledged to sign it into the law. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

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Updated: January 20, 2014 8:15AM

I commend the members of the Illinois General Assembly for their recent efforts to begin to fix our state’s pension liability. That said, we still have a long way to go to get our fiscal house in order and restore the confidence manufacturers need to expand and/or locate in the Land of Lincoln.

According to the Illinois Policy Institute, the official unfunded pension liability is $100 billion. The bill that passed and was signed by the governor would — at best — reduce the unfunded liability to $80 billion. It only scratches the surface and dials back the crisis to 2011 levels. It’s universally accepted that this legislation does not represent a solution to Illinois’ pension crisis. Several legislators who voted for the bill have said as much and have defended their vote by saying, “This is not a solution; it is a first step.”

A “first step” necessarily means there is a second step. My colleagues in the manufacturing sector will be watching closely to see if there is a second step. Will Illinois find its fiscal footing or will we continue to stumble?

Brian P. McGuire, president,

Technology & Manufacturing

Association of Illinois

Opposition hasn’t fizzled

An Associated Press report claiming that the challenge to Illinois House incumbents who voted for marriage redefinition has fizzled is utterly misleading. According to our information, eight of the nine Chicago Democrats challenging Democratic incumbents would have voted no or present on SB 10, the same-sex “marriage” legislation sponsored by state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago).

This is an astounding fact that should not be lost on readers. Not one, not two, not three, but eight pro-marriage Chicago Democrats are challenging Democratic incumbents in the March 18, 2014, primary election.

Fizzled? Hardly.

Marriage redefinition didn’t a month ago and still doesn’t have the support that the dominant media wants you to believe it does. It is evident in the fact that Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, had to twist arms to get SB 10 to pass in his chamber and by the fact that a good number of Chicago Democrats are running as pro-marriage Democrats. That, however, is not the narrative the media wants to promote. They choose to frame it as a conservative-cup-half-empty story.

Compound these facts with the fact that all three of the weak-kneed Republicans who voted for SB 10 have primary challengers who are pro-marriage, and it adds up to anything but a “fizzle.”

David E. Smith, executive director,

Illinois Family Institute

Obamacare is an improvement

From recent polling, it is safe to say most people are not sold on health care reform. The rollout was bad, but please look at the big picture. It is progress.

The system before was dysfunctional, discriminatory and expensive. Costs have been rising for years. Do people know how to read or analyze data? If they do, they can see U.S. spending on healthcare as a percentage of GDP and per capita spending out of control, not sustainanble.

Americans, many for first time, now have access to affordable insurance. No more pre-existing conditions, no more fine print, no more junk policies, no more bankruptcies.

The Affordable Care Act offers more security, better coverage, more preventive care and peace of mind. It is a fair deal. Get covered.

Michael Godziszewski,

Franklin Park

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