THE BLOG
08/05/2014 12:39 pm ET Updated Oct 05, 2014

Should Illinois End Public Employee Pensions?

Illinois currently has at least $100 billion in unfunded pensions and the amount public workers and all Illinoisans must contribute to the retirement funds of teachers, police officers and others is only expected to increase. Is it time to end the public pensions in Illinois? Republican Chris Robling and Democrat Dave Lundy discussed the pros and cons of getting rid of it all together.

Robling argues maybe the first step is to switch all new employees to a 401(k)-style plan. If the state can't manage it's money, Robling said, the choice is between changing the pension system or seeing huge layoffs for current employees. Layoffs would cap the pensions for fired workers and allow the state to hire new, cheaper ones.

Lundy, however, notes the state constitution prohibits public workers from having their pensions diminished or taken away. He also points out that Illinois actually has fewer public workers than many other states. The numbers of employees aren't the reason our pension debt is the worst in the nation, he says.

They agree reform is needed. Join the conversation at Reboot Illinois. Let's figure out this pension mess.

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner also is weighing drastic measures to get Illinois' finances working again. A new video posted by the Illinois Federation of Teachers union that has endorsed Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn shows Rauner saying he'd consider shutting down state government. In response to questions, Rauner's campaign said shutting down government is not part of his plan, but they also noted lots of Illinoisans probably would favor that action. You really need to check this one out.