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Letter to the Editor: Retired Teacher's Solutions for Illinois Pension Crisis

Naperville Patch welcomes letters to the editor. Letters may be submitted to Local Editor Collin Czarnecki at collin.czarnecki@patch.com.

Dear Editor,

I am a retired teacher with a vested interest in protecting the integrity of all publicly funded pensions. I am also extremely frustrated that there has been so little consideration of the real underlying problems our State faces: an unfair state income tax structure, an unwillingness to accept reality with regard to a sales tax on services, and an unrealistic repayment schedule for our pension debt.

Illinois is one of only 7 states in the nation which employs a flat tax and, until the recently enacted temporary increase, at 3% for individuals was dead last in the rate imposed. Even now, at 5% (until 2015), we are not the most highly taxed of this group. A flat tax is inherently unfair: 83% of states with an income tax and even the Federal government have chosen a graduated income tax as the most fair way to tax.

As quoted by Joe Cahill in Crain’s this past July, “former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker blamed Illinois’ staggering deficits in part on a ‘narrow tax base.’ As the service sector grew during the past several decades, most states extended sales taxes to a range of consumer services…. Illinois taxes just 17 services, fewer than all but 3 other states…well below the national average of 56. Neighboring Iowa, by contrast, taxes 94 services. It is estimated that taxing consumer services could provide an additional $4 billion annually, enough to nearly cover our current $5 billion-plus backlog of unpaid bills!”

And, finally, let’s consider the repayment schedule! This is a self-imposed, overly ambitious, unrealistic schedule. Once we address the revenue side of the equation, it would make sense to refinance our debtinto a manageable and reasonable program of debt repayment.

Pension Crisis Solved!

Dianne McGuire

Gerard Schilling January 07, 2013 at 01:28 PM
I am a retired, non-ex- government employee, resident of Naperville for 30 years and who has seen each and every year my taxes raised to support these corrupt ingrates (politicians and unions) who give themselves unjustified, unwarranted, extortionary pensions, benefits, colas etc while the average tax payers is being bleed to death. This person would be more than happy to raise taxes on everyone and everything to pay for this extravagance. Better idea is to claw back these ludicrous pensions to equate to what the private sector tax payer jobs pay.
Despiser of Obama January 07, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Gerald I believe you are talking about the State level and not Naperville!
Gerard Schilling January 07, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Both and by the way negotiation will begin soon for another 3 yr contract for D203 and we will see how they try to scew us again.
Dan January 08, 2013 at 04:06 AM
Wow, Gerald you are really upset with teachers (you wrote - "screw us again"). You are welcome to move to a district with lower taxes.

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