WIUM Tristates Public Radio

A Cartoon Snake and Illinois Pensions

Nov 19, 2012

Credit Capitol Fax

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has finally unveiled his Internet campaign that is supposed to spur legislators to overhaul the state’s retirement systems. 

Quinn is trying to use social media to educate voters about the "squeeze" pension costs are putting on other state spending, such as education.

There's a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and  the “This Is My Illinois" website.  So far the website is mostly a video explaining the history of pensions, with the help of a cartoon snake named "Squeezy the Pension Python."

"I thought it was a joke, or that someone had hacked into his account,” said Representative Jack Franks (D-Marengo).

“Now when I realize ... that it's his attempt here, that he's serious about it, I'm embarrassed for him.”

Other legislators are more diplomatic.  But so far none have said it's done anything to change their mind. 

Ted Dabrowksi of the conservative Illinois Policy Institute said he's all for educating and engaging the public, but he added:

"Really I think people are looking for a lot more from the governor. The situation has gotten so serious and the pension crisis worsens every day that we don't act.  So I think people were expecting much, much more."

He said the one thing the online campaign is lacking is the most important: an actual plan.

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio