Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pensions Are “Sacrosanct and Enforceable Contracts” by Gary Elmen, President of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association

“It’s true that education is the key to our future, but those who served the needs of our students in the past are also part of our future. For that reason, the Illinois Retired Teachers Association will join other public employee organizations in suing to stop enactment of illegal and radical changes to Illinois’ public pension laws.

“The Illinois Constitution specifically protects public workers’ pensions as sacrosanct and enforceable contracts, the benefits of which cannot be impaired or diminished. In their wisdom 43 years ago, the constitutional delegates recognized the proclivity of legislators to ignore their obligations to the men and women who serve the public.

“Pensions are not gifts, they’re earned benefits deferred to employees who kept their end of the bargain over their careers. Imagine the outrage if an employer decided he could not, because of his bad business practices, fulfill his commitment to pay his workers. 

“Lawmakers for decades recklessly ignored the state’s obligation to pay for its share of its pension funds, and now they’re telling innocent retirees that their pensions must be radically reduced. The IRTA will ask the Illinois Supreme Court to overturn this effort and restore fairness and security to those who spent their teaching careers building a better future for us as well as our children.”

Gary Elmen

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