A press release from Govenror Bruce Rauner:
Statement on Supreme Court Decision
CHICAGO – Governor’s spokesman Lance Trover issued the following statement:
“The Supreme Court’s decision confirms that benefits earned cannot be reduced.
“That’s fair and right, and why the governor long maintained that SB 1 is unconstitutional.
“What is now clear is that a Constitutional Amendment clarifying the distinction between currently earned benefits and future benefits not yet earned, which would allow the state to move forward on common-sense pension reforms, should be part of any solution.”
= = = = =
You can read the court decision here.
To get what Rauner wants he has to give in on what Chicago and others want.
What they want is more money.
You can’t dig your way out of a hole.
I agree “that’s fair and right”, I question what the plan is for new hires today.
Do we continue hiring with unfunded benefits?
When the Constitution was adopted by the voters, there was no one who wanted to point out the long term ramifications of what was in the Constitution.
Ignorant voters approved it.
We have similar situations when elected officials approve federal grant funding without reading the fine print relative to the long term impact.
Another example is the Lakewood TIF.
The proponents tell voters there will be no property impact outside the TIF District but they won’t admit that people who move to area (if the TIF does what is supposed to – create tax subsidized jobs) will require services and the taxpayers outside the TIF district will foot the bill for those services – education, first responders, social services, highways, park districts etc.
When the Constitution was adopted, few people knew that the inflation ponzi scheme could come crashing down and when it did the politicians did not have the best interests of Illinois at heart.
There should have been a referendum in 2009 to repeal the Constitutional guarantee of pension increases in the public sector – people in the private sector have NO such guarantee.
The lobbyists, legislators, and Governors worked to hike pension benefits to underfunded pensions.
Instead of first fully funding underfunded pensions.
This practice escalated after the pension sentence was added to the Illinois State Constitution on December 15, 1970.
The result of the pension sentence was not better funded pensions, but hiked pensions.
So it’s not fair and right for taxpayers to fund the hiked pensions (of course the taxpayers receiving the pensions don’t mind funding the pensions because their return on investment is so large).
The hiked pensions were a money grab and it’s been going on for 45 years because no one outside those benefiting was closely following pension legislation and its impact on taxes.
Arguably the biggest canary in the coal mine was Bill Zettler with Illinois Pension Scam, but he just scratched the surface, covering mainly the teacher pension fund, and to a lesser extent, the four other “state” pension funds (university employees, state workers, judges, and legislators).
However there are 19 pension funds in the Illinois Pension Code.
The people who are hurt the worst are those most in need of services.
Money for those services is going to hiked pensions.
One of the primary results of legislation in Illinois over the last 45 years has been to hike pension benefits for government employees.
Compare 1970 pension benefit levels to 2015 pension benefit levels in the 19 pension funds in the Illinois Pension Code.
The Illinois Pension Code is over 1,400 pages.
So at this point part of the solution is to pass a constitutional amendment to repeal the pension sentence added in 1970 and scale back the pension benefits.
Rauner is only proposing to change benefits not yet earned (accrued).
While that maybe be enough to keep the pensions and state afloat, it allows taxpayer money to fund hiked pensions instead of other causes.
So if that’s what taxpayers want, that’s what taxpayers get.
Now if you asked taxpayers over the last 45 years, do you want to hike government pensions, or do you want to fund this or that cause, how many would have chosen to hike pension benefits of underfunded pensions?
Probably not many.
So therein likes a key to unlocking the mystery.
The taxpayers were not told what was transpiring in a way the average taxpayer could understand the effects of the pension benefit hiking legislation.
The taxpayers were not asked their opinion.
Once again, the information was not presented in any easy to understand fashion to taxpayers.
Taxpayers are missing key pieces to the puzzle, in no small part because those who hiked the pensions don’t want to admit what they did, and for whatever reason the press is horrible at explaining the story.
Taxpayers were manipulated and deceived, key information was purposefully not disclosed to taxpayers in any transparent and easy to understand fashion and that continues to be the case.
The union lobbyists, politicians, union bosses, the rank and file union members, others benefiting from the system, none of theme want to tell the whole story about hiked pension benefits after the pension sentence was added to the Illinois State Constitution.
Where were all these people complaining since 1970?
Where were they when Governor Thompson and Mayor Daley gave the colas, and where were they when local school boards and communities give raises to teachers, police, etc?
The bill has come due and electing Rauner has not changed that.
Look at Sunday’s Chicago Tribune and the pension that is only 14% funded is the legislature; so if anyone should help pay out of the pensioners it should be those that voted for this stuff, but people who sat quietly while towns spent money due pensions on other projects need to man up now also.
Mike, I wouldn’t bother with a pension referendum.
If a pension reform referendum passed, a couple of judges somewhere would overrule it.
There is a precedent to this: in 2008 when California passed prop 8, a single 9th circuit judge declared it illegal.
There is no hope for this to be fixed by politicians.
The big boys at the Federal Reserve will solve these kinds of problem with a little bit of inflation.
California Proposition 8 in 2008 opposed same sex marriage and had all sorts of issues at the state and Federal level; it had nothing to do with pensions or what is being proposed by Rauner.
“A Amendment clarifying the distinction between currently earned benefits and future benefits not yet earned…” is completely different than California Proposition 8 in 2008.
The unions shot themselves in the foot big time.
The pension reform bill had a provision that would have allowed the trustees of the pension funds to sue the state if funding goals were not met.
That’s gone now.
The legislature will now continue to underfund the pensions, and they will eventualy become insolvent. T
he Illinois Supreme Court does not have the power to force the legislature to appropriate funds or raise taxes.
California prop 8 was the clear will of the California electorate. It ought to have settled the debate, at least for a while. Instead a single judge thought it reasonable to overturn it.
It did clearly illustrate the concepts of “democracy” and “referendum” as they are understood in US today.
So go ahead, win a referendum on IL pensions. See how far it will get you.
The only logical solution is to stop hiring altogether, and to fire as many public employees as it takes to preserve remaining funds in order to pay legal pension entitlements.