Rockford lawmakers "not surprised" by pension plan lawsuit - – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford lawmakers "not surprised" by pension plan lawsuit

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Less than a month after Illinois legislators pass pension reform a lawsuit is filed against it. Most area elected leaders voted against the pension plan, but even one who supports the law saw this coming.

"It's good that it's filed, it's something that needs to be done, because there needs to be some closure to this and the sooner that a lawsuit gets filed, the sooner the courts can rule on whether or not this law the way it was passed will hold up." -says 35th District State Senator Dave Syverson.

A group of eight retired teachers and administrators filed the suit in Cook County Circuit Court.

"I'm surprised that it was filed from just the teachers. I figured we'd see several lawsuits before it was over with. They say it's unconstitutional, I did not vote for the pension, from that point we'll see what happens, but I think they have every right to do that." -says 67th District State Representative Chuck Jefferson.

Lawmakers say this plan will save the state $160 billion over the next three decades by cutting benefits for employees and retirees. Opponents, like the group of former educators who filed, believe it violates the Illinois constitution stating pension benefits may not be diminished.

"If it's the Association of Retired Teachers who were indeed behind filing the suit, I think they had threatened to fight just about any pension reform. Unfortunately, this is the same group who also didn't offer up any solutions on how to actually create solvency within the system, but we expect it to go to the courts and it's certainly something that I think the Illinois Supreme Court will have to make some decisions on." -says 69th District State Representative Joe Sosnowski.

Supporters think Illinois' highest court will uphold the law because it's needed to fix state finances.

"The only thing I can say is that we are on the verge of insolvency, doing nothing is not an option because the system will go insolvent and people could lose their entire pension, so we have to do something." -Syverson adds.

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