Illinois is so broke that some Democrat legislators may actually vote yes for a bill that cuts public sector pensions. It is unlikely that Illinois Senate Bill 512 will become law in the face of virulent union opposition in this heavily Democratic state, but the fact that an attempt at cutting pensions has not triggered knee jerk opposition from the Democratic controlled legislature is illuminating. The debt crisis in Illinois has become so dire that even some Democratic legislators seem to favor this bill for reducing state pension obligations.
I can only surmise that the paucity of publicity regarding the fight over this bill is due to few believing that it actually has a chance of passing both branches of the Illinois legislature and getting signed by the governor. There has been little reporting on SB 512 in the mainstream media. While there is lots of activity among opponents and supporters of the bill, attention has failed to bubble up as a hot issue among the general public. Taking the con side, labor unions in Illinois are sending out communiques to their members encouraging them to oppose the bill. On the pro side, the Illinois Is Broke Campaign is leading the fight. They have been running TV commercials promoting their cause. It is interesting to note that the commercials avoid specifically mentioning SB 512.
The Greek debt crisis offers an illustration of the dangers of fiscal irresponsibility. Given that even Illinois Democratic legislators are targeting the state's debt crisis by taking on the "third rail" issue of pension cutting, it demonstrates that the call for fiscal responsibility is gaining momentum. The progress that Illinois SB 512 has made is a milestone event that probably should be getting more mainstream media attention than it has to date.
Additional commentary on SB 512 is offered via Illinois Legislator Sets New Standard For Kicking The Can Down the Road on Addressing Deficit Crisis