Over the protests of state employee unions, an Illinois House committee gave bipartisan support to a plan intended to repair Illinois' underfunded pensions. But the full House adjourned Monday without taking a vote.
The legislation would leave workers paying more for a smaller retirement benefit. House Republican leader Tom Cross said the change is necessary given the condition of Illinois' pension systems.
State employee unions say the leading proposals to fix Illinois' public employee pension systems are all fatally flawed, so they proposed their own plan.
Workers point out any attempt to plug the $96 billion funding shortfall must respect the state Constitution, which says benefits "shall not be diminished."
The proposals backed by Governor Pat Quinn and other political leaders attempt to get around that in order to cut retirement benefits. But AFSCME Legislative Director Joanna Webb-Gauvin said those ideas will ultimately fail in the courts.
Most Illinois voters might be surprised by their ballot when they vote next month – but they’ll be shocked by the consequences if it passes. Proposed Constitutional Amendment 49 “adding Sec. 5.1 to Article XIII,” claims to address the state’s pension obligations.
First, given the shortfall of more than $80 billion in Illinois’ five pension plans, voters should ask how a new Sec. 5.1 would deal with the money the state owes those pensions. It does nothing.