Illinois Pension Ruling Poses Challenge For Emanuel, Chicago

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The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday deemed the state’s 2013 pension changes unconstitutional, and the court doubled down on the idea that no law can legally diminish or impair promised benefits.

The ruling will make Rahm Emanuel’s life more difficult as he tries to wrangle Chicago’s finances.

The Chicago Tribune details the “triple blow” to Emanuel and the city:

First, the ruling could nullify pension deals the mayor struck last year with unions representing the city’s laborers and municipal workers, sending Emanuel back to the bargaining table.

Second, the decision weakens Emanuel’s negotiating position as he seeks pension concessions from Chicago police and fire unions, since the court made clear that public employees’ retirement benefits cannot be diminished once they’ve been granted.

And third, the ruling adds another major problem to a stack that’s already piled high at the Capitol, leaving less political oxygen as Emanuel tries to breathe life into his wish list of multiple fixes for City Hall and Chicago Public Schools pensions that includes a city-owned casino.

Emanuel had, behind closed doors, braced top officials for the likelihood of Friday’s court decision, according to the Tribune.

The extent to which Chicago will have to re-tool its pension reforms remains to be seen.

 

Photo by bitsorf via Flickr CC License

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