THE ISSUE: Wisconsin, a state saddled with debt, is looking to pass a bill that will make public workers pay more for their pensions and health insurance to save the state money.



WHAT WE THINK: Illinois should be taking notes from what its northern neighbor is doing.


THE ISSUE: Wisconsin, a state saddled with debt, is looking to pass a bill that will make public workers pay more for their pensions and health insurance to save the state money.

WHAT WE THINK: Illinois should be taking notes from what its northern neighbor is doing.

Mere days after the protests ended in Egypt, a different kind of demonstration started just hours north of Illinois.

Thousands of angry state employees descended on the Wisconsin capitol to protest the state’s proposed cuts to the Wisconsin public union’s benefits.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has proposed changes to the public workers’ health care and pension plans in order to give the cash-strapped state some fiscal relief.

While these types of cuts are normally unheard of when it comes to public-sector jobs, the proposed changes would still have public employees pay less than private-sector workers for their health care and pension plans.

The governor has the votes for the measure to pass, but the legislature needs at least one Democrat for the quorum, and the Wisconsin Senate Democrats are literally in hiding to prevent the legislation from becoming law.

While Wisconsin is seemingly on fire over this issue, the Land of Lincoln remains quiet. Illinois, which is saddled with a more burdensome debt than Wisconsin, refuses to get serious about tackling the state’s enormous debt and continues to kick the can down the road when it comes to fixing their deficit.

While states like Wisconsin are making tough cuts to their budget in order to get their finances in order, Illinois’ leadership continues to spend frivolously and will not offer any serious solutions for fixing the budget besides borrowing more money and raising taxes across the board.

If Illinois can learn anything from the situation in Wisconsin, it’s that unpopular cuts have to be made sooner or later to get a state’s finances in order.

These kinds of cuts may alienate voters, but real leadership involves making unpopular decisions, not expedient ones.

And, while the Wisconsin and Illinois capitols are separated by a few hundred miles, Wisconsin’s political leaders continue to be light-years ahead of Illinois’s politicians.