Illinois Supreme Court Expedites Hearing On Chicago Pension Reforms

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Less than a month ago, a judge declared Chicago’s pension reforms unconstitutional. The reform law mandated higher contributions for current employees and reduced cost-of-living adjustments for retirees of two city pension systems.

Now, the Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to take up Chicago’s appeal of the lower court’s decision – and a ruling on that appeal is going to come quick.

From the Chicago Tribune:

The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to quickly consider an appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down pension fund changes Mayor Rahm Emanuel engineered to lower taxpayer costs but also hit current and retired city workers in the pocketbook.

In a brief order, the court agreed to a sped-up briefing cycle that would lead to oral arguments in November — a schedule city attorneys hope leads to a final decision before the year is out.

[…]

Although union representatives and lawyers for retired workers have urged the city to drop the appeal, Emanuel has defended it, saying city pension changes “will stand the test of time.”

If the appeal fails, the city eventually would have to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars more each year to restore financial soundness to two pension funds for city workers and laborers. Those workers, however, would pay less into the fund, and retired workers would not see their benefits reduced.

The rationale for the lower court’s overturning of the law was that the reforms “diminished or impaired” the benefits of Chicago retirees, which is forbidden by the state’s Constitution.

 

Photo by bitsorf via Flickr CC License

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