Batinick believes pension reform is first step in turning state around
Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) wants to see the state government get out of its own way.
“Until we add more efficiency to the way we do things, we’re going to continue on this same boat we’re now stuck on,” Batinick told the Will County Gazette.
Illinois is now lagging far behind the national average for jobs growth despite having access to the most state revenue in history after sharply raising personal and corporate income tax rates as part of the 2017 state budget.
Since then, state jobs growth has dipped from 1.11 since the end of the Great Recession to just 0.74, even as growth has remained relatively consistent across the vast majority of the country, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.
Batinick places most of the blame on the lack of reforms out of Springfield.
“My pension reform proposal is the only reform measure that became law as part of the budget just passed,” he said. “There’s nothing else, and we still desperately need things like workman’s compensation and tort reforms.”
With Illinois ranked as low as 42nd in the nation in jobs growth as recently as 2017 and with Chief Executive magazine recently placing the state at 48th to do business in, Batinick nevertheless holds out hope that the so-called “Batinick Buyout” might be able to stem the tide.
The voluntary plan works by allowing workers vested in the state pension system to choose if they want to exchange any of their future pension benefits for a cash payout that could be reinvested however they see fit.
“Illinois has one of the lowest credit ratings among the 50 states due to years of fiscal mismanagement and our inability to pass a balanced budget or reform our pensions,” Batinick posted on his website. “Now we have finally taken a step toward turning things around.”
Batinick is running for re-election in the 97th House District in November’s general election.