WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Ralph Martire

Rich Egger

Rich Egger’s guest on Emphasis is Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. He was in Macomb to give a presentation at Western Illinois University.

Most Illinoisans seem torn between anger about state pensioners supposedly getting rich off taxpayers, and concern about state-worker neighbors caught between incompetent lawmakers and greedy credit agencies in cahoots with big banks. The real debate should be one timid types in Springfield (or Washington) avoid: What do citizens want government to do and how will it be funded?

Rich Egger

Conservative estimates indicate Illinois is $83 billion short of what it has promised state workers in retirement benefits.  But Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability said said there is nothing inherently wrong with the state's pension plans.

He said the problem is that for 40 years the state “borrowed like a credit card” from pensions to pay for other services. But instead of acknowledging that, state leaders and lawmakers have played politics with the issue.