WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Frese Blames Pension Crisis on Leadership Gap

Aug 28, 2012

Republican Illinois State Senate candidate Randy Frese of Paloma said the state's pension problems are a sign of broken government, which he said was caused by a lack of leadership.

Frese said the pension reform program in Rhode Island could serve as a template for Illinois. He said Rhode Island raised the retirement age, froze the cost of living adjustment (COLA), and implemented a 401K style plan. Frese said the state did so long before it got into a financial hole as deep as the one in Illinois.

“There has to be leadership to see that in advance or to see that as it occurs, not ten years afterwards when we're already in crisis,” Frese said.

Frese said Illinois lacked the foresight because it's been lacking in leadership. He also said everything should be on the table when pension reform is discussed.

“There needs to be adjustments in every single facet of it,” Frese said of the pension system.

Frese held news conferences in Macomb, Galesburg, and Quincy to announce he will not accept a state pension if he is elected.

“When I sit down at a table to negotiate on behalf of the taxpayer, I want that taxpayer to know that I don't have my own benefits in mind when I'm sitting there negotiating,” Frese told reporters on the south lawn of the McDonough County Courthouse.

Frese said the state's pension fund is $83 billion short of the amount it should contain.

Frese is running against incumbent State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville).