Reaction to Illinois Supreme Court pension ruling - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Reaction to Illinois Supreme Court pension ruling

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UNDATED (AP) - The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday struck down a 2013 law that sought to fix the state's pension crisis. Here is reaction from across the state to the high court's ruling.


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   ""The Supreme Court's decision confirms that benefits earned cannot be reduced. That's fair and right, and why the governor long maintained that SB 1 is unconstitutional. What is now clear is that a Constitutional Amendment clarifying the distinction between currently earned benefits and future benefits not yet earned, which would allow the state to move forward on common-sense pension reforms, should be part of any solution." -- Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.
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   "When I read SB 1 back in 2013 I believed that the bill was unconstitutional and that is why I voted "No." The legislation prohibited pension benefits from being "diminished or impaired," which is exactly what the Illinois Constitution states in order to protect employee's pensions. We have to reform the system, but we have to make sure that we do it while abiding by the Illinois Constitution." -- Illinois state Rep. Brian W. Stewart, a Freeport Republican 
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   "This ruling is a victory for retirees, public employees and everyone who respects the plain language of our Constitution. That victory, however, should be balanced against the grave financial realities we will continue to face without true reforms." -- Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat
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   "The goal of the pension legislation was always in my mind to provide balance between the competing demands on our revenues and the court has taken away our ability to provide that balance. ... I'm not sure that any of the proposals that were considered would have passed." -- State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat
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   "I am committed to working with everyone to find a solution that adheres to the Constitution. We must to work together in bipartisan cooperation with Governor (Bruce) Rauner - who has demonstrated his commitment to tackle the most difficult problems facing Illinois." -- Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont
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   "There are no winners today. If there's any good news, it's that Chicago and Illinois are resilient, and we've responded to great challenges before." --  Ty Fahner, president of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago
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   "We have a lot more clarity now and that's valuable. ... There are a lot of limitations placed on the Legislature by this ruling. We need to think carefully about what the options are, what rules can be utilized and design something accordingly." -- State Sen. Daniel Biss, an Evanston Democrat
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   "Ultimately, the only way Illinois can break the cycle of siphoning more and more tax dollars and sacrificing more and more state programs to pay for pensions is to follow the lead of the private sector and move new employees to a 401(k)-style system." -- Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman
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   "As a result of this opinion, employees retiring from the State of Illinois should have confidence in their pensions.  And our members, members of the State Universities Retirement System, can take comfort in knowing that their service to the students of this State did not deprive them of their retirement benefits." -- Linda Brookhart, executive director of the State Universities Annuitants Association

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   "There are no winners today. If there's any good news, it's that Chicago and Illinois are resilient, and we've responded to great challenges before." --  Ty Fahner, president of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago

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