Illinois Gov. Rauner Considers Constitutional Amendment For Pension Reform


Earlier this year, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said he would wait to implement any of his own pension changes until the state Supreme Court ruled on the state’s 2013 overhaul.

But Rauner now says he is considering a constitutional amendment to get around language in the Illinois constitution that prohibits impairment of benefits.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Rauner told the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board on Monday that he believes the court will find the law unconstitutional because it cuts benefits that already have been accrued by workers.

Rauner, too, has pushed cutting pension benefits to help pull the state out of the red. But in a sign of his distrust of the court, he is talking about seeking a constitutional amendment in an attempt to get around language in the state constitution that holds public pension benefits cannot “be diminished or impaired.”

The justices on the high court signaled devotion to that language when they ruled in favor of retirees in a separate case last summer involving an attempt to make retirees pay more for their state-subsidized health care. The court ruled 6-1 that the language in the constitution was “aimed at protecting the right to receive the promised retirement benefits, not the adequacy of the funding to pay for them.”

Rauner told the Tribune on Monday he thought the court’s ruling in that case was “off base.” He said he wants to use a constitutional amendment to “end-run the years of lawsuits” that would come from his plan to reduce pension benefits.

“We can’t just let the Supreme Court decide these issues just with the vague language we’ve got now,” Rauner said. “I have no confidence.”


Photo by Tricia Scully via Flickr CC License

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One Response to “Illinois Gov. Rauner Considers Constitutional Amendment For Pension Reform”

  1. […] like the last pension reform. Rauner has countered by saying he could avoid the court delay with a constitutional amendment, but even that could result in a delay until the amendment can be approved by voters at the ballot […]

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