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Forum: Thoroughly bankrupt Illinois

Updated: April 25, 2013 7:14AM



Illinois is only the second state in our country’s history to be accused of fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for misleading bond investors about the serious financial shortcomings of its pension plans from 2005 to 2009. Illinois has neither admitted to or denied these findings, but this is another serious blow to the state’s shattered reputation.

The state’s pension funding crisis did not appear overnight. It took years of neglect and abuse by political leaders from both parties, such as Edgar, Madigan, Jones and Blagojevich to name a few. They allowed the state for decades to inadequately finance its five pension systems.

The politicians are still in denial and want to blame and punish the greedy state workers, including teachers, who faithfully paid their share of their pensions while the state did not. The funds would be solvent today if the state had likewise paid its share annually.

There are a few pension reform plans before the Legislature, most of which call for various sacrifices by the employees, including delayed or reduced benefits, and are of questionable constitutionality. An agreement does not seem near.

The state of Illinois must learn to live within its budget and that it cannot take money designated for existing programs to create new ones that it cannot otherwise afford. It cannot continue to overspend and not pay its existing obligations.

If our state government were a business, its executives would be fired, if not charged with fraud and embezzlement, and the company would declare bankruptcy and reorganize. Why does the public tolerate this behavior by our politicians?

Kenneth J. Pytlik

Mokena

District 117 referendum

In November, the North Palos School District 117 Board approved an April 9 referendum on a $30 million bond issue to build a new Conrady Junior High School. I voted for the referendum for several reasons.

First, as a school board member, I took an oath to provide the best educational opportunities for more than 3,100 students. We need a new junior high to continue our outstanding programs.

Renovations to upgrade and maintain the current school would cost more than building a new school, and certain problems such as narrow hallways and a limited number of classrooms would remain.

Also, historically low interest rates make this an excellent time to borrow money, and a lack of major building projects post-recession will allow the district to obtain very competitive bids.

Our District 117 community will grow and continue to be a favorable area in which to live and raise our families as long as the schools continue performing at high levels. Everyone has to make a choice regarding the bond issue on April 9. Please consider all these reasons before voting.

Tom Kostes

Board president

North Palos School District 117



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