Illinois Supreme Court Ruling Leaves Rep. Batinick’s Pension Proposal the Most Viable

Plainfield – An Illinois Supreme Court ruling announced on Thursday, March 24, struck down pending Illinois law aimed at reducing unfunded pension obligations in Chicago. Analyses showed that the Chicago Municipal and Chicago Laborers’ Funds were projected to become insolvent by 2024 and 2028, and rejected the law that had been pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to address the severe underfunding of these systems. The measure would have reduced the retirement benefits of current and future Tier I retirees, mostly through reducing the compounded 3% COLA, in addition to requiring current workers to pay more towards their retirement.

The Supreme Court rejected the bill for requiring the alterations to pensions, and not allowing pensioners’ their constitutional rights to control in the process. They did leave a small window open by citing, “Nothing prohibits an employee from knowing or voluntarily agreeing to modify pension benefits from an employer in exchange for valid consideration from the employer.”

State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) stated, “The Supreme Court’s ruling supports my proposal in that it gives pensioners valid consideration. They are free to keep their current pension as it is. I’ve spoken with the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability and my proposal saves significant money and pensioners keep their constitutional rights.”