Emanuel Aide: “Door Open” On Pension Reform Despite Court Ruling

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The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday overturned Rahm Emanuel’s 2014 pension reforms, which would have increased employee contributions and cut COLAs.

But officials inside Emanuel’s office believe “the door [is] open” to future pension reform through collective bargaining, according to a report.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The Illinois Supreme Court dealt Mayor Rahm Emanuel an expected body blow in his fight to solve Chicago’s daunting pension crisis, but it wasn’t a knockdown.

In fact, the ruling Thursday that overturned Emanuel’s plan to save Municipal Employees and Laborers Pension Funds, on pace to run out of money in eight and 12 years respectively, all but invited the mayor and the unions to go another round.

The Supreme Court declared that, “as a matter of law, members of the funds did not bargain away their constitutional rights.”

That’s even though 28 of 31 unions signed off on Emanuel’s plan to raise employee contributions — to 11 percent by 2019 — and end compounded cost-of-living adjustments for retirees ineligible for Social Security.

The ruling also states, “The pension protection clause was not intended to prohibit the legislature from providing ‘additional benefits’ and requiring additional employee contributions or other consideration in exchange.”

The Emanuel administration seized on that as charting a path forward.

“Obviously, we would have preferred a win, but we don’t think the door is completely shut. They left the door open to collective bargaining,” said a top mayoral aide who asked to remain anonymous.

 

Photo by Joe Gratz via Flickr CC License

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