Lawmakers in Illinois have been trying to fix the states public pension system for many years, and their most recent effort was derailed by the Illinois Supreme Court last week.
In a unanimous decision, the court found that the pension bill signed in 2013 violated the Illinois state constitution. Illinois lawmakers attempted to reduce the pensions and benefits that had been promised to public workers.
Under the Illinois Constitution, the pension systems cannot be modified in a way that would diminish or impair the benefits promised to workers.
In the opinion, the court noted that the budget crisis is not an excuse to abandon the rule of law It is a summons to defend it.
In a scathing indictment of the dysfunction in the legislature, the Illinois Supreme Court justices noted that the budget crisis was largely a consequence of the General Assemblys failures. The court further noted that the challenges had been avoided successfully by other public pension systems without diminishing promised benefits.
Executives from the Illinois A.F.L.-C.I.O. noted that public servants such as teachers and firefighters invested their entire savings in the public pension system.
In light of the state Supreme Courts decision, the state continues to deal with a serious budget shortfall, an underfunded pension system, and no potential remedy in place to address the budget crisis.
State legislators will be forced to find a way to resolve the states budget crisis without robbing elderly public servants of the benefits that they have been promised.
Any reduction in the benefits provided to public servants would create a severe hardship to vulnerable retirees.
GWC Injury Lawyers stands with unions who vigorously opposed the pension law that was signed in 2013.