Breaking News Bar
posted: 12/17/2012 5:00 AM

Pension proposal is unconstitutional

hello
Success - Article sent! close
 

The latest version of pension "reform" legislation introduced by state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat, is an improbable step backward in efforts to save public pensions. Foremost in its regression is language that impairs and diminishes the constitutionally guaranteed pension benefits being received by current retirees. There is one indisputable fact that cannot be ignored: Cutting or diminishing benefits to those already retired is a violation of the Illinois Constitution.

Furthermore, it is important to remember why these guarantees exist in the first place. Today, the unfunded liability of the Teachers' Retirement System is around 50 percent. When the authors of our Constitution crafted the language we abide by today, the unfunded liability of the public systems was virtually the same. A teacher's pension is a result of a solemn promise between the employee and the employer (constitutionally, the State of Illinois). At every juncture teachers, as the employees, held up their end of the bargain: They spent a career in the classroom, imparting priceless knowledge to young people in return for a middle class salary and the promise of financial security in their post-teaching years. They contributed 9.4 percent of their income to that retirement security and were not entitled to contribute to Social Security. To protect working men and women from the arbitrary nature of future General Assemblies and their tendency to misappropriate budgets, the constitutional authors guaranteed the retirement security of public workers by specifically determining that pensions are enforceable contracts under the law.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Until this legal guarantee is seriously addressed in negotiations over public pensions, we will not be able to seriously address pension reform.

James Bachman

Executive director

Illinois Retired Teachers Association

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here