Illinois Springfield Capitol and Sky. Photo by: Yinan Chen / Wikimedia Commons
Illinois Springfield Capitol and Sky. Photo by: Yinan Chen / Wikimedia Commons

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Written by: Matthew McGuire

In 2015, select unions in Illinois will have the opportunity to speak with members of the Illinois Supreme Court on how and when they will vote regarding the pension system within the annual budget.

In addition to these open discussions, the state is providing new retirement options for those working in the private sector. These options appear to be prevented measures to help build additional revenue and resources to be built to help the enconmy on a whole.

January 4, Senate Bill 2758, created and sponsored by State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Skokie) and House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), established the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program. The program creates an individual retirement savings option through a 3 percent payroll deduction for private sector employees whose employer does not offer a retirement plan besides Social Security.

This example is a good option to building revenue, but it appears by past succesful pension reforms that

Currently, the state is estimated to have a shortfall of over $100 billion for the pension system. Lawmakers have continued to push off the debt without providing any new streams of revenue.

This has created statewide budget cuts for the unions that are supported by the state. Select unions will be able to reach out and connect with members of the Illinois Supreme Court this March.

The dilemma that the Illinois Supreme Court faces in 2015 is making constitutional decisions on state pensions and the overall state budget. Paul Merrion, writer for, reviewed the unconstitutional reform bill that rejected last November. Illinois needs to use examples such as the

A new method of resolving the pension problem can be found within intellectual communities. One of the reasons behind this article, is to find a resolution to a new revenue stream for Illinois, or in what areas of the budget do you feel could be cut.

Three examples that I present include:

  1. Bring Tesla, Solar City and Elon Musk to Illinois. Energy costs make up a considerable percentage of the budget for commercial companies and residents in the state.Michael Obeiter, writer for World Resources Institute, aids to the conversation with examples on how the clean energy transition can be finanically benefitcal for everyone.

    Not only is the new rule achievable for states, but research shows that it could be economically beneficial. Michigan’s energy efficiency standard saved the state $1 billion in its first three years. In 2012, Wisconsin’s wind industry generated more than $1 billion in investments within the state and more than $2 million per year in lease payments to local landowners.

    The rule can also help strengthen the clean energy sector. Renewable energy is increasingly competitive with fossil fuels, and is growing quickly – Texas alone has more wind capacity than all but five countries. As utility planners, clean energy providers, and investors take into account the limits on carbon pollution that EPA is establishing, this proposal sends a signal that will spur further investment in clean energy, increasing economies of scale and driving prices down even more.

    Obeiter does an excellent job of showing the revenue that can be generated by converting to clean energy. Each my examples may only take away a piece of the total debt, but creating an intellectual conversation, building awareness on how to solve the budget crisis, and

  2. Invest in social programs regarding health care management.One of the largest costs in the Illinois budget is health care. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that Medical Secretaries, Home Health Aides, and Medical Assistants are expected to see the largest increases of job growth by occupation leading into 2022.The reason that the Illinois government should invest in social programs, is to properly train these employees to give the best service possible, and to build a better understanding of providing health care with cost effective standards.
  3. Legalize Marijuana for adults over 21 by 2016. Colorado has generated over $60 million dollars from sales tax on pot during 2014. Illinois, in comparison has wasted an entire year of building revenue by over complicating the process for the select medical candidates.The majority of the population in Illinois supports legal reform, but a broken legal system is holding back the progressive behavior. reported on what Colorado has made in 2014, and also has predicted what the state plans to bring in through 2019. Policy makers in Illinois needs to see this revenue stream, and make decisions to work on a statewide legalization by the end of the year.

    The state anticipates a $200 million increase by mid-2017, and about $636 million to state coffers through the middle of 2019.

Illinois is one of the many states that currently faces a financial crisis. If your state has found a progressive way to build jobs, please share the ways states can rebound back in 2015.