Statement on pension ruling from Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont)
“Illinois has the nation’s worst-funded pension system and the biggest pension deficit of any state. Nearly a quarter of our budget goes directly to pensions or to pay off past loans used to cover short-term pension costs.
I am committed to working with everyone to find a solution that adheres to the Constitution. We must to work together in bipartisan cooperation with Governor Rauner – who has demonstrated his commitment to tackle the most difficult problems facing Illinois.”
IL Supreme Court rules against state pension reform law
Identifying a solution to state’s $100 billion unfunded pension liability will be a top priority for state lawmakers, after the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously found unconstitutional the pension reform measure passed by lawmakers in 2013.
With the nation’s worst-funded pension system, and the biggest pension deficit of any state, nearly a quarter of the state’s budget goes directly to pay for pensions or to pay off past loans used to cover short-term pension costs. Lawmakers worked together to pass a bipartisan pension reform agreement that would have gradually reduced the state’s unfunded public employee pension liabilities. The constitutionality of the measure was almost immediately challenged in a court of law.
While the state argued its “police powers” give it the authority to alter pension obligations in response to the state’s serious financial crisis, the Supreme Court disagreed. In its decision, the court pointed to previous rulings, which found that fiscal difficulties do not override the provisions laid out in the Constitution of Illinois.
In response to the high court’s ruling, lawmakers from both parties indicated they are committed to working together to identify an alternative reform solution to Illinois’ pension woes.
You can read the full Supreme Court opinion here.