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LaHood Opinion: Pension Deficit Continues to Plague Illinois Economy

PRINGFIELD – As children head back to school, the summer fair season is wrapping up, but is always ends with our state’s two largest celebrations of agriculture -- the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and its southern Illinois cousin – the DuQuoin State Fair.

Agriculture is the basis of the Illinois economy and it looks like Illinois farmers have the potential to have another good year. Our Illinois agricultural industry is on track for back-to-back quality years after dealing with historic drought in 2012. The easiest way to tell whether or not producers have had a good year, is if tax revenues are up.

One-quarter of Illinois’ economy is based in the agriculture sector and it should be a top priority of the legislature to enact policies that allow the sector to grow. Illinois is the third largest producers of commodities in the United States and we continue to expand our agricultural reach throughout the world. - See more at: http://www.senatorlahood.com/Media/News/NewsDetails/TabId/795/p/16719/v/2000/-LaHood-Opinion-New-911-Dialing-Law-Further-Protects-Safety-of-Illinoisans.aspx
SPRINGFIELD – As children head back to school, the summer fair season is wrapping up, but is always ends with our state’s two largest celebrations of agriculture -- the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and its southern Illinois cousin – the DuQuoin State Fair.

Agriculture is the basis of the Illinois economy and it looks like Illinois farmers have the potential to have another good year. Our Illinois agricultural industry is on track for back-to-back quality years after dealing with historic drought in 2012. The easiest way to tell whether or not producers have had a good year, is if tax revenues are up.

One-quarter of Illinois’ economy is based in the agriculture sector and it should be a top priority of the legislature to enact policies that allow the sector to grow. Illinois is the third largest producers of commodities in the United States and we continue to expand our agricultural reach throughout the world. - See more at: http://www.senatorlahood.com/Media/News/NewsDetails/TabId/795/p/16719/v/2000/-LaHood-Opinion-New-911-Dialing-Law-Further-Protects-Safety-of-Illinoisans.aspxA seemingly insolvable $100 billion pension deficit has thousands of Illinoisans running for the hills and credit rating agencies issuing more negative reports.

A seemingly insolvable $100 billion pension deficit has thousands of Illinoisans running for the hills and credit rating agencies issuing more negative reports.

A major credit rating agency, Moody’s Investor Services, recently released a study that shows Illinois pension debt at 250% of its revenues, which is by far the worst in the nation. The second closest to us is Connecticut with around 200 percent. To put all this data in perspective, the U.S. median is 51.2% with our Wisconsin neighbors at less than 25%.

For years, Illinoisans have been reminded of the State’s failure to secure the solvency of Illinois’ retirement systems. While many have attempted and hoped to find a reasonable solution to reduce the State’s mounting pension deficit, Illinois’ strict constitutional protections for public employee pension benefits has raised doubts that substantial reforms will pass constitutional muster—providing little reassurance to credit rating agencies that Illinois can or will improve its economic outlook.

Click to read more of Sen. LaHood’s opinion…