"I have always supported eliminating the constitutional protection clause because it was snuck in years ago despite the fact that only seven states have a clause like that and no one understood what could happen. As you no doubt know, healthcare costs continue to go up and people continue to live longer lives so why would we have a clause that doesn't allow for us to make any modifications and guarantees people free health care for the rest of their lives.
"As I'm sure you are aware removing the clause also would not change anybody's current retirement if they are retired. We absolutely have to make some changes in order for future generations to actually have some sort of retirement. It is absolutely ridiculous that we have individuals retired from the state of Illinois making over $400,000 a year and we can't do anything to make modifications to correct what is outrageous.
"No one is against people retiring and having a fair income but for people to double dip, receive six figure salaries, and retire at age 47 there are way too many abuses in the system that need to be cleaned up. We may disagree on this issue, but we can't sit around and do nothing."
On the contrary, many people understood what would happen if there were no protections in place for public employees. Article XIII, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution was not “snuck in years ago.” The people of Illinois understood the need for a constitutional protection for public employees’ rights and benefits based on history and voted for it:
“[Furthermore], anyone following the pension-reform debate knows Illinois has long diverted the money needed to properly fund its pension systems to avoid tax increases, cuts in public services or both. Some may not admit it, but they know it. They also know this practice is the primary reason why the systems are under water” (Eric M. Madiar, former chief legal counsel to Senate President John Cullerton).
“In 1917, the Illinois Pension Laws Commission warned leaders that the retirement systems were nearing ‘insolvency’ and ‘moving toward crisis’ because of the state’s failure to properly fund the systems. It also recommended action so that the pension obligations of that generation would not be passed on to future generations.
“The warning and funding recommendation went unheeded, as did similar warnings and recommendations found in decades of public pension reports issued before and after the pension clause was added to the Illinois Constitution in 1970. For decades, these reports consistently warned the public and lawmakers of the dire consequences of the state’s continued under funding and of the significant burden unfunded pension liabilities posed for taxpayers. They advised that the pension clause bars the legislature from unilaterally cutting pension benefits of retirees and current employees.
“Indeed, one of the clause’s purposes is to prevent the state from reneging on its pension obligations during a fiscal crisis because of the burden imposed by unfunded liabilities. The clause was added at a time when the pension systems were no better than they are today” (Madiar).
“As you no doubt know, healthcare costs continue to go up and people continue to live longer lives so why would we have a clause that doesn't allow for us to make any modifications and guarantees people free health care for the rest of their lives” (Sosnowski). Joe, read In the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois (Docket No. 115811) Roger Kanerva et al., Appellants, v. Malcolm Weems et al., Appellees.Opinion filed July 3, 2014 (Kanerva Health Insurance Case).
“It is absolutely ridiculous that we have individuals retired from the state of Illinois making over $400,000 a year and we can't do anything to make modifications to correct what is outrageous…” (Sosnowski).
It is faulty logic to reason that the properties or minority of individuals are necessarily the properties of the whole which they constitute – In this case, a small percentage of recipients is not representative of the whole. The average TRS pension is $48,218 (TRS). Moreover, legislation took effect January 1, 2012 that addressed so-called double-dipping in Illinois.
It is shameful and reckless that a representative who has sworn an oath to uphold the State and U.S. Constitutions would propose an amendment that ignores and challenges a legal contract. Breaking a contract threatens the integrity of all laws that govern and protect the citizenry, for the values of the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 10) and the Illinois State Constitution (Article I, Section 16 and Article XIII, Section 5) are dependent upon the understanding and integration of all of the articles and amendments in totality; “the strength of the constitution[s] would not be proven by considering each article or amendment in isolation from the others” (Tom Beauchamp, Philosophical Ethics).
As citizens, we are advocates of a unification of the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution, which protects all of us from any violations of human rights and contracts, as much as we would wish others to be motivated by a way of life that is also governed by a complete moral system of thinking. There are no good reasons for a legislator’s attack on public employees’ rights and benefits that were earned. The General Assembly cannot justify breaking a contract in accordance with fundamental, constitutional principles of reason and morality and neither can you justify an amendment to "sap the morals of the people and destroy the sanctity of private faith."
What Illinois citizens can accurately predict about future contracts with state legislators who believe they have the “power to interfere with the obligations of contracts [that are] specifically denied to the states [in Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution]” is that if Illinois legislators “can declare an emergency to exist and abrogate one provision of [both State and U.S. Constitutions]…, ‘this decision serves notice upon [every citizen of Illinois], who heretofore had trusted in the constitutions for protection and believed in the sanctity of a contract, that the constitutions are no longer a guarantee nor security against the abrogation of a proper and legal contract’” (Fliter, John A. and Derek S. Hoff. Fighting Foreclosure: The Blaisdell Case, the Contract Clause, and the Great Depression).
I do agree with one statement of yours: “We can't sit around and do nothing.” Indeed, I suggest you take classes in ethics and logic, Joe.