SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) offered the following comments on the July 3 Illinois Supreme Court decision, which upheld insurance benefits for retired public sector employees.
“Six of the seven Illinois Supreme Court Justices upheld what is clearly expressed in the state Constitution: that benefits for retirees cannot be diminished. And, in dicta from the 7th Justice’s dissent that was narrowed to healthcare issues only, she more than implied that she believes that the protection does extend to pensions. The past four years have essentially been wasted because legislative leaders of both parties and the Governor have ignored the basic document we all took an oath to uphold and defend.
Sadly, everybody from private sector employees to teacher union members know that we have a big, big problem in Illinois. Rather than waste time on ‘pie-in-the-sky, fantasyland’ savings that were clearly unconstitutional, it would have been far more productive to work together to craft a plan that saves money for the taxpayers while treating our employees fairly - as I have espoused for the last four years.
Indeed, I supported the bi-partisan pension reform plan that would have saved $46 billion for the taxpayers that was previously negotiated by Sen. President Cullerton and passed the Senate. Because it was negotiated legislation, legal precepts would have viewed the unions as essentially “waiving” the same Constitutional issues that came into play in today’s ruling. Time for the legislative leaders of both parties to have a serious reality check and stop wasting time chasing illusory savings. The only way out of our problems is by working together to come up with a solution we can all live with. To keep chasing a mirage when you have $46 billion on the table is absurd. It is time for House to act on the Senate’s bill.”
The Illinois Supreme Court decision can be found here; http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/SupremeCourt/2014/115811.pdf.