Stay Granted on Public Pension Reform Plan

Speaking of slim hopes, as I predicted a Circuit Court judge has put a stay on Gov. Quinn’s and the state legislature’s clearly unconstitutional plan to reform Illinois’s public pension system:

SPRINGFIELD — A Sangamon County judge stopped Illinois’ state pension overhaul law from taking effect Wednesday, issuing a stay on the law until the court can rule on its constitutionality.

Two lawyers representing plaintiffs in the case said that Circuit Judge Jon Belz issued the order to stop the pension law that reduces retirees’ benefits and increases their contributions from taking effect this summer.

Parts of the law were to take effect June 1.

The overhaul was designed to close a $100 billion deficit in five state pension systems. It was signed into law last fall.

The House author of the changes, Rep. Elaine Nekritz, noted that none of the savings officials expect to reap from the changes are factored into the state budget for this year.

“I would have been shocked had there not been a stay,” the Northbrook Democrat said. “It should have been stayed and we should wait to see frankly what the Supreme Court tells us.”

As I’ve said before the plan is unconstitutional on its face and its being declared constitutional will depend on just how much water the courts are willing to carry for the governor and state legislature. Almost no one likes the plan other than the governor and the legislators who voted for it. The state’s public employees don’t like it, their unions don’t like it, ordinary Illinois citizens don’t like it, and anyone who can add doesn’t like it because it doesn’t solve the problem it claims to.

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