This Looks Like Good News
- A lawyer for the state faced skeptical questioning from Illinois Supreme Court justices Wednesday as she defended a landmark pension reform law by arguing that benefit cuts to public workers were a response to a financial emergency tied to the Great Recession.
But lawyers for public employee unions reminded the court that the Illinois Constitution barred changes that "diminish or impair" pension benefits, adding that if an emergency exists it's the state's fault for decades of poor financial management.
After nearly an hour of legal arguments before the state's highest court, there was no indication of how or when the seven justices would rule. But the eventual decision will have widespread ramifications for state taxpayers as well as those in Chicago and towns throughout Illinois struggling to cope with growing pension debts that are straining government budgets.
It's truly sad that a lawyer, after how many years of school, has to be educated by the Illinois Supreme Court as to the fact that words have meaning, and laws made up of words have meaning, too. This is not a financial emergency - this is years and years of deliberate mismanagement on the part of Springfield and Chicago, buying off certain constituencies with money that should have been set aside - was in fact required to be set aside - for promises made. People should be in jail for what is going on, but again, the entire legislature, most recent governors and lord knows how many mayors, starting with Shortshanks, would overcrowd the prisons.