"Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement Thursday after Governor Bruce Rauner and Republican legislative leaders proposed changes to Illinois’ pension system: ‘I have shown my commitment to achieving pension reform on a number of occasions over the last several years. The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that the General Assembly cannot alter earned benefits. With the court’s guidance, we now have a clearer framework of what cannot be done in any future pension reform proposal. To avoid wasting taxpayer dollars on lawsuits, it’s important that we carefully consider the court’s direction when we take up pension reform proposals as we work to address the state’s unfunded pension debt while ensuring that retirees who have worked hard for decades will receive their retirement benefits…'" (Capitol Fax).
"Governor Rauner’s Statement on Pension Reform Legislation: 'The following statement can be attributed to Lance Trover, communications director for the Governor’s Office: 'Administration lawyers have spent weeks negotiating the best possible pension reform language with members of Senator Cullerton’s staff. Central to the Cullerton model is that future salary increases are part of the employee election, and that to ensure the proposal passes Constitutional muster current law must be changed to make the employee’s election permanent. On that core principal, the Governor’s legal team and the President’s legal team have agreed, and this is the model that the Governor and Republican leaders endorsed today. We hope the Senate President still supports this agreed upon model, originally developed by his office. If he no longer supports it, we urge him to immediately introduce new pension reform legislation that he thinks will be approved by the Supreme Court, and the governor will be open to considering it. Now is the time to act.'"
"The following statement was released by Senate President John J. Cullerton regarding Republican leaders’ pension proposal: 'The governor called me this morning to say he was going to back my ideas for pension reform. The plan he outlined at his news conference isn’t what we talked about. It’s not my plan. It goes beyond what we discussed and beyond what I support. We apparently still have a fundamental disagreement over the role of collective bargaining in this process, in the sense that I think collective bargaining should continue to exist and the governor does not. I look forward to working with the governor to clarify these issues and appreciate his willingness to consider other ideas and just how far he’s moved away from his original pension reform ideas. But this is not my plan, not the plan we discussed this morning, and it does not have my support.'"
We know they will attempt another legislative thievery of our benefits and rights again. Thus, we must continue our vigilance. Most importantly, we must continue our resistance against the dishonest politicians and their mendacious accomplices, such as members of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Civic Federation, Illinois Policy Institute, and their ilk.
We know corrupt legislators (and the current governor) will attempt to pass laws for their own advantage. We should recall that despite their pledges, the legislators’ criteria for justice are their considerations for what is expedient for them—their re-elections to remain in power and wealth.
(The visual juxtaposition is by Fred Klonsky.)