State representative candidate Neil Anderson on Wednesday said he would seek to eliminate legislative pensions if elected as District 72 state representative. |
Mr. Anderson, 30, is the Republican challenger facing state Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, for the District 72 seat on Nov. 6. During a Wednesday news conference at his Moline headquarters, Mr. Anderson said Illinois is bleeding people to almost every state in the nation because of its uncontrollable debt.
"We are broke, and, yes, we need to fix it," he said.
Mr. Anderson said he opposed the 66 percent tax hike approved by the legislature, including Rep. Verschoore, and signed by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2011. He said, if elected, he planned to author legislation to take pensions away.
"We're in a tough spot in our state with our budget," he said. "Right now, legislators get elected and the first thing they're worried about is getting re-elected."
Part of the re-election motivation, he said ,was "to keep padding that pension." Asked about his own future pension as a firefighter, Mr. Anderson said he is concerned about pensions overall.
"It is very important we do have some kind of pension reform for public employees," he said. "I'm a firm believer in a promise made is a promise kept.
"We have to fix this problem, the pension problem, with integrity."
Mr. Anderson said an $85 billion shortfall in the state's pension system could force the state to face bailouts or bankruptcy.
"If that happens, everybody's pension is up for grabs," he said.
Mr. Anderson also said he believes the state income tax increase has hurt job growth in Illinois, saying it created a tradeoff between more tax dollars and more jobs leaving the state.
"Are we going to lose some revenue cutting the tax increase back?" he asked. "I guess. Maybe. But, you're also going to build by making a more business-friendly environment."
Mr. Anderson said he never thought about going into politics until he worked on the campaign for U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, in 2010. That increased his interest in finding solutions to government-created problems, he said.
"This is something I need to do for the future of the state, the future of the country," Mr. Anderson said. "Moreso, for the future of my son and my little girl on the way.
"Something has to change. Government is not intended to be about politics," he said. "It's supposed to be about principles, and that's what we need to bring back to the state."
Sherrard, IL Details
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