State Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson, D-East St. Louis, on Friday issued the following statement in response to Gov. Pat Quinn's State of the State address, which the governor delivered on Wednesday:
"The governor's speech was an opportunity for us to reflect on the important issues facing Illinois and the direction we are heading. Through difficult times, we continue striving for progress so that we can leave a better state for future generations. Our top priorities remain economic growth and job creation - to restore fiscal responsibility and create more opportunities for the working families in our state. Additionally, we must build on our efforts to reform the education system, improve our infrastructure of roads and bridges, and keep our communities safe.
"To address these concerns, we must continue to rein in spending and alleviate the massive debt weighing down the state budget. This past year, we funded many of the state's mandatory obligations and devoted $1.3 billion toward paying down our backlog of bills while cutting nearly $1 billion from the state budget.
"Still, there is more work to be done to make government more efficient and ease the financial burden shouldered by the taxpayers of Illinois. The state's ongoing pension crisis puts us deeper in debt with each passing day. It is critical that we come to a solution that will bring state pension costs under control and provide long-term retirement security for public employees.