IEA President: Revenue needed to address state’s fiscal problems

Statement by Cinda Klickna, President of the Illinois Education Association

In his State of the State address today, Governor Quinn today suggested that Illinois can balance the budget by reforming pensions, implying that pensions are the cause of our state’s fiscal problems.

To be clear, pensions didn’t cause education to be underfunded over decades. The state saved billions by not funding pensions, yet continued to underfund education. Cutting pension benefits for teachers and other public employees is not a plan for balancing the state’s budget.

Illinois has shortchanged generations of children, underfunding preK though 12 education and our higher education institutions, just as the state consistently diverted money from the pension systems, creating the pension underfunding problem.

The governor indicated Senate Bill 1 is a potential framework for a pension solution. If so, we welcome the opportunity to see if that proposal can be built upon, made constitutional and provide a way for Illinois to increase revenue, reduce the state’s debt, shore up the pension systems and get Illinois back on solid fiscal footing.

Read the We Are One Illinois fact sheet on Senate Bill 1




  1. It is never good to mess with people’s pensions after they have retired. They count on that amount to pay their bills. The Governor has not been our friend through this process. He has not allowed IEA to offer valuable suggestions, that might solve part of the problem. The past legislatures & governors did not follow the Constitution that said they had to fund these pensions. They created the mess, now the Gov. wants to call it pension reform. When elected officials do dishonest things, they need to be reformed. Mike Madigan is also guilty. This is another example of political hypocrisy when people say how valuable our teachers are to the success of children learning; then they try to screw them out of a pension it takes them 30 yrs. to earn. Please don’t even think of becoming a teacher. I’m a teacher’s wife. He worked his butt off for years and coached. They don’t appreciate it, and he never received a pension worth as much as teachers in wealthier districts. I’m so disappointed in Illinois Democrats I voted for last time around. I won’t do that again.

  2. Bill Harshbarger says:

    Perhaps, the argument would be more persuasive by emphasizing how for 40 or 50 years the General Assembly gave taxpayers a SAVINGS-DISCOUNT by allowing them to escape their CONSTITUTIONALLY REQUIRED funding obligation to the pensions. Over many years, this policy of under taxing citizens gave them a bonus–a bonanza of tax savings. It benefited everyone except those receiving pensions. If we believe recent articles, this undeserved, inappropriate bonus ranges between $84 billion and $96 billion. Now, in this time of crisis, doesn’t it make sense to ask ALL TAXPAYERS to pay back some of that bonus to solve the under-funding problem? AND, isn’t it unreasonable–even UNCONSTITUTIONAL–to compel those entitled to pensions to give up anything at all? A little common sense exposes the enormous deception that is at work in the so-called pension reform crisis.