Attorney general asks Supreme Court to hurry on pension case

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office asked the state Supreme Court Thursday to fast-track a decision on whether a new law to cut teacher and state worker pension benefits is constitutional.

A lower court ruled the law should be tossed because the Illinois Constitution says pension benefits can't be "diminished or impaired."

Madigan asked the high court to hurry with the case because the outlook for the state budget lawmakers will craft in the spring could change drastically based on whether the pension cuts take effect.

"A prompt resolution of those issues is critical because the State must either implement the Act, or, in the alternative, significantly reduce spending and/or raise taxes," the filing says.

Typical cases can take months to play out. Madigan's filing asks for oral arguments as early as Jan. 22. A decision would come later.

Local teachers were relieved when a lower court tossed the steep pension cuts, which were approved by lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn late last year.

Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner has called for using 401(k)-style plans for workers' future retirement benefits.

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