Caulkins worries that Harvey pension crisis may become the new normal across state
Dan Caulkins worries that the City of Harvey being forced to lay off at least 30 police officers and firefighters as its pension system woes continue to mount may be the start of the new normal across the state.
“It’s not going to be good,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “Indications are other disasters like this are pending. The truth is that pension funds are unsustainable. States are now being left to run up even more debt just to be able to meet payroll.”
In Harvey, CBS reported even more pink slips could be coming after the court recently ordered city officials to make good on pension payments they can longer afford and have not adequately funded for more than a decade now.
“Maybe this will wake citizens up to the reality of what’s going on and force government bodies to make the changes that are need,” Caulkins, a Decatur Republican running against Democrat Jennifer McMillin for the seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) in the 101st District, said.
“If you’re not willing to renegotiate the pension process, the only other ways for governing bodies to control pension costs are no raises for state workers, lower salaries and to require employees to pay more for benefits,” Caulkins said. “The State of Illinois can’t simply bail them out.”
While Caulkins concedes the situation in Harvey may be worse than most given all its years of gross mismanagement, he added every now-endangered city is grappling with the same issues.
“I don’t know what the public safety unions are trying to prove,” he said. “I presume this is a tactic being used by the unions to get pensions funded.”
According to Wirepoints.com, overall nearly two-thirds of the state’s 651 pension funds were underfunded as recently as 2016, with all those delinquent municipalities now potentially subject to also being garnished.