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LTE-Letters to The Editor by: TGA Director of Media John Hilt

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LTE-Letters to The Editor by: TGA Director of Media John Hilt

The group sends Letters to The Editor on a variety of topics.

Website: http://thegreatawakening.ning.com/group/letterstoeditor
Members: 11
Latest Activity: Sep 11, 2013

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AWAKEN AMERICA - FLYER FOR JUNE 17 EVENT 4 Replies

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Flyer for event June 17, 2013 available here

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Comment by carol ann parisi on May 5, 2011 at 6:23am

Here are some suggestions of  letters for the PENSION REFORM INICIATIVE

suggested letters to lawmakers and to editors just cut and paste away

 

Dear                                                                                    ,

 

I am a concerned voter and member of Americans for Prosperity.  I am very concerned about the states future.  Therefore, I am respectfully requesting that you work to enact substantive reforms of the state employee pension system that directly affect current state employees and save our state billions in long term revenues. 

 

At a minimum I ask that you have the courage vote in favor of:

1.       Giving new employees the choice of either:

Defined contribution plan; or Reformed defined benefit plan that was enacted in Spring 2010.

2.       Set future State contributions to pension plans at half of "Normal Cost" (cost of annual pension accrual) of reformed defined benefit plan. Employees pay any additional costs associated with the plan they choose.

 

Your attention and commitment to changing the direction of our once great state is appreciated and expected.

 

Sincerely,

 

here are some letters to editor or use them for the lawmakers cut and paste

Letter 1

 

Insert Salutation,

For years Illinois has been accumulating debt through pension liabilities for state employees.  The 2011 budget alone has a $7 billion deficit in underfunded retiree costs for a single year.  The current debt level for Illinois is over $140 billion and nearly 80% of that total is due to unfunded government pension benefits.  We cannot continue to ignore the problem while hoping that future generations will find a magic pot of gold to pay off our debts.

Generous government pensions were originally intended to attract talented employees to traditionally low salary government service jobs.  Retirement was an implied future compensation in exchange for accepting a salary below the private sector equivalent.  Over time the salary gap between private sector and government jobs has disappeared, but the pension system has not changed.  As a member of Americans for Prosperity, I am writing this letter to urge you to take the courageous path and support reform of our broken state pension system.

We must honor the benefits earned to date; however, we must also reform the future system.  The first step was made last year with pension reform for new state employees.  Now, we must take the next step by modifying the future pension plan for current employees.  It is perfectly reasonable for Illinois taxpayers to ask state employees to contribute more towards their own retirement plans.  State employees should be given the choice between a defined contribution plan, the reformed defined benefit plan that was enacted in the spring of 2010, or the current defined contribution plan with increased employee contribution levels.  This will allow employees to pick the option that works best for their personal situation.  Additionally, the retirement age must be raised to at least 65 for all state employees.

Illinois is broke, but together we can fix it if you will have the courage to vote in favor of these difficult reforms.

Sincerely,

Insert NAME

 

Letter 2

Insert Salutation,

Illinois taxpayers fund five different retirement programs for state employees:  State Employees’ Retirement System; Judges’ Retirement System; General Assembly Retirement System; Teachers’ Retirement System; and State Universities Retirement System. 

Just as many other states have been forced to reform their pension systems, Illinois must also reform our current state employee retirement plans.  Our 2011 state budget has a single year deficit of $12 billion.  Of that total, $7 billion is directly related to state employee retiree benefits.  Eventually, we must pay that bill. 

We have already waited too long for reform to be easy.  I hope this letter will encourage you to support the difficult task of pension reforms.  At a minimum, I ask that you have the courage to vote in favor of:

1.  Giving current employees the choice of a defined contribution plan, the reformed defined benefit plan that was enacted in the spring of 2010, or the current defined contribution plan.

2.  Giving new employees the choice of either a defined contribution plan or the reformed defined benefit plan that was enacted in the spring of 2010.

3.  Setting future State contributions to pension plans at half of "Normal Cost" (cost of annual pension accrual) of the reformed defined benefit plan, with employees paying any additional costs associated with the plan they choose.

4.  Changing the minimum retirement age from 55 to 65 years of age.

Enacting these reforms will save an estimated $2 billion per year.  We need real budget reforms now, and as a voter and member of Americans for Prosperity, I know I can count on you to do the right thing and make the hard choices needed for Illinois.

Sincerely,

Insert NAME

 

Letter 3

Insert Salutation,

I recently read that Illinois' state retirement plans have a current deficit of over $140 billion.  That is the equivalent of $30,000 per household.  I don't know about you, but I can't afford $30,000 for someone else's retirement.  Something has to change, and as a voter and member of Americans for Prosperity, I am asking you to help. 

After researching this issue I believe that the following reforms must be enacted to bring Illinois back from the edge of the financial cliff.  First, we must change the existing retirement system by offering current state employees a choice between a defined contribution plan, the reformed defined benefit plan that was enacted in the spring of 2010, or the current defined contribution plan with increased employee contribution levels.  Second, we must set a limit on future state contributions to the pension plan that is in line with private sector standards.  Finally, we must raise the minimum retirement age to 65. 

Your support of these and other reforms is imperative.  Therefore, I am respectfully requesting that you work to enact substantive reforms of the state employee pension system.

Sincerely,

Insert NAME

 

Letter 4

Insert Salutation,

I am a member of Americans for Prosperity and would like to see prosperity return to Illinois.  That won't happen until we get our budget deficit under control.  We have a $12 billion deficit in 2011 and an accumulated debt of over $170 billion.  The majority of that debt ($140 billion) is directly due to underfunded pension liabilities for state employees.  Why do we continue to demand that 95% of Illinois citizens pay billions of dollars for the retirement benefits of 5% of our state's population?  I want to encourage you to support efforts to reform the Illinois pension system.

We are obligated to fulfill benefits that have already been earned, but we are also obligated to reform the current system to get us off the path of fiscal insolvency.  You can do the right thing by supporting reforms to set future state contributions to pension plans at half of "Normal Cost" (cost of annual pension accrual) of reformed defined benefit plan. Current state employees could choose between retirement plans as long as the employees pay any additional costs above the state's contribution associated with their selected plan.  This reform would put state pensions in line with private sector standards and, in conjunction with other reforms, save Illinois $2 billion per year.  

We cannot ignore our financial crisis any longer.  I hope I can count on you to support this very important step toward a prosperous Illinois.

Sincerely,

Insert Name

 

Letter 5

Insert Salutation,

Unfunded state employee pension expenses are destroying our state.  Illinois is at a crossroads and a difficult choice is ahead of us.  We can continue the policies that have accumulated $140 billion in retirement plan deficits, or we can choose to fix a broken system.  The first step in the right direction was taken last year when the General Assembly supported reforms to the pension system for new state employees.  I am asking you to make another difficult choice and take the next step by supporting reforms to the pension system for existing state employees.

By most estimates, in the next ten years, pension obligations will account for about one-third of all the tax revenues from sales taxes and personal/corporate income taxes.  If we don't do something now, that percentage will grow to over 50% of tax revenues by 2045.  The uncontrolled growth of retirement pension obligations will take money away from critical government services like education, law enforcement, and assistance to the poor and handicapped.  Your support for pension reform is key to ensuring we do not have to choose between public safety and a luxury retirement for state employees.

We cannot afford to make the wrong choice.  As a member of Americans for Prosperity, I ask that you support legislation that gives current state employees a choice between a defined contribution plan, the reformed defined benefit plan that was enacted in the spring of 2010, or the current defined contribution plan with employee contribution levels similar to what exists in private sector retirement plans.  Additionally, reforms must set future state contributions to pension plans at half of "Normal Cost" (cost of annual pension accrual) of reformed defined benefit plan and raise the minimum retirement age to 65 years. 

With your support we can save Illinois' taxpayers over $2 billion per year and start to make our state a good place to do business.

Sincerely,

Insert NAME

 

 

 

 

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