Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Mark Kirk Calls For Pension Reform

Senator demands legislators find bipartisan solution to state's fiscal crisis

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Sen. Mark Kirk says its time for Illinois lawmakers to find a solution to the state's fiscal crisis.

    In a video released Tuesday, Kirk responded to the Illinois legislature's failure to fix the state's pension system during a special session last month. Kirk points out that Illinois taxpayers pay $1.5 million for every $100 million borrowed.

    "Everyone inside the borders of Illinois is disadvantaged by these higher interest costs because of poor debt management by our state," Kirk said. "I think it's time for decisive bipartisan action to make sure our state does not have the worst credit rating of all 50 states."

    Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered Illinois' credit rating last month in the face of "weak pension funding levels and lack of action on reform measures."

    Kirks' call for a solution comes on the same day the Chicago Sun-Times featured a story on 46-year-old New Lenox Mayor Tim Balderman, a former police chief who is receiving tax-free disability pay of $129,192 a year, which is nearly $20,000 more than he made while working.

    The paper reports that Balderman's pay will increase 48 percent when he turns 60 and that he'll collect a total of $5 million by the time he turns 75. City officials want to take another look at the deal, but Balderman is suing the police pension board to stop it from cutting his benefits.