GOP Illinois congressmen blister state Senate Democrats for using COVID-19 as excuse for pension bailout
By Lynn Sweet Apr 20, 2020, 1:40pm CDT
“We fully support federal assistance to help defray some of the state’s losses, but we oppose using the crisis as an opportunity for a full-scale federal bailout,” the five said in a letter to Harmon, referring to the pension request.
“Even in the best economic climate, with some of the highest taxes in the nation, Illinois could not afford its obligations. This pandemic has not caused a pension crisis; it has further illuminated the one that already existed.”
The letter was signed by Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger, John Shimkus, Rodney Davis, Mike Bost and Darin LaHood.
This uproar started when Harmon, from Oak Park, sent a letter April 14 to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., with a $41 billion list of items, including the pension cash, he wanted in the next round of emergency federal COVID-19 relief funding.
The request for the pension lifejacket touched a raw nerve with Illinois Republicans, because the state pension mess — to them — is emblematic of state of Illinois fiscal problems that predate the COVID-19 economic meltdown.