Boots & Sabers

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0931, 09 May 15

Illinois Supreme Court Overturns Pension Reform

Let us not forget that Illinois has screwed themselves with decades of liberal rule and ridiculous pandering to the public employee unions.

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday unanimously ruled unconstitutional a landmark state pension law that aimed to scale back government worker benefits to erase a massive $105 billion retirement system debt, sending lawmakers and the new governor back to the negotiating table to try to solve the pressing financial issue.

The ruling also reverberated at City Hall, imperiling a similar law Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed through to shore up two of the four city worker retirement funds and making it more difficult for him to find fixes for police, fire and teacher pension funds that are short billions of dollars.

At issue was a December 2013 state law signed by then-Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn that stopped automatic, compounded yearly cost-of-living increases for retirees, extended retirement ages for current state workers and limited the amount of salary used to calculate pension benefits.

Employee unions sued, arguing that the state constitution holds that pension benefits amount to a contractual agreement and once they’re bestowed, they cannot be “diminished or impaired.” A circuit court judge in Springfield agreed with that assessment in November. State government appealed that decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, arguing that economic necessity forced curbing retirement benefits.

On Friday the justices rejected that argument, saying the law clearly violated what’s known as the pension protection clause in the 1970 Illinois Constitution.

Now what? Their choices are very limited. They can jack up taxes and cut spending on every other public priority (roads, schools, prisons, healthcare, etc.), but even then they will likely not be able to meet their pension obligations. Plus, the public will not be very appreciative of such actions. Or the state could declare bankruptcy and default on the pension obligations. Bankruptcy appears to be the most likely scenario.

For more reasons than just this, I’m glad that I don’t live in Illinois.


0931, 09 May 2015


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Liberal Democrats: once again robbing from a constituency they claim to care about.

    Liberal Democrats have turned Illinois into a socialist wasteland with their fraudulent promises and follow-up actions.

    I’m just glad we had Scott Walker to turn the tide in Wisconsin. We have a long way to go in Wisconsin to fix all the socialist damage, but at least its heading in the right direction.

  2. Jadedly Unbiased

    I am not a big fan of unions in general. I believe everyone should have to pay their fair share. I disagree with the Illinois Supreme Court decision and will continue to support Republican Governor Bruce Rauner in this effort. I believe in Illinois they were looking at all public sector workers (police and firefighters) included. I wish Wisconsin would have included all public sector workers in Act 10.

  3. Northern Pike

    Don’t worry. Illinois eventually fix it so that only policemen get the unquestionable benefit of closed-shop labor unions. It’s the Tea Party way.

    Kind of like WEDC – socialism for your friends, capitalism for your enemies.

  4. Jadedly Unbiased

    Interesting point.

  5. Mark Maley

    Walker has had a terrible 6 months in his efforts to fix the socialist wasteland .

    For a group that acted with righteous certainty in governance, there seems to be a ton of decisions that are made decided , polled and then remade .

    Not ready for Prime Time .

  6. Kevin Scheunemann

    Oh Mark,

    The Obamas and Clintons do that in spades.

    So again, we criticize Walker for doing what liberal Democrats do with mastery?

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