* This story is firing up some of the bluest blogs…
As state courts across the nation prepare to referee numerous public pension reform disputes, a gaggle of interested parties — from major corporations to the Koch brothers — will next week sponsor an expenses-paid conference on public pension reform for judges who may decide the cases’ fates.
Conference funders, which include ExxonMobil, Google and Wal-Mart, could benefit from efforts to slash benefits for public employees. Alternative approaches to shore up state budgets would likely require higher corporate taxes, fewer corporate subsidies and reduced government services, all of which would be bad for business. […]
[David Sirota, a liberal writer and commentator], for one, said the conference hosted by George Mason’s Law & Economics Center is “an effort to lobby judges.”
“It’s crossing a line that’s not supposed to be crossed,” he said. “What’s next? Is a company going to be able to hire a lobbyist to go lobby a judge in chambers?”
Illinois is featured prominently in the story, so I checked with Joe Tybor over at the Illinois Supreme Court to ask if any justices were planning to attend the conference. He asked them all and told me that none were going.
* Meanwhile, from Illinois Review…
Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey said Wednesday that Illinois towns and cities would be in a better position to face their public safety pension obligations if they had the ability to file for bankruptcy.
The statement came during a downstate and suburban mayors’ news conference held in Illinois’ state capitol. […]
“Soaring pension costs aren’t just a Chicago issue or a state issue. The fire and police pension systems are suffocating the budgets of every town, village and city in Illinois,” said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis. “In Peoria, for every dollar the city pays a firefighter, we pay over 50 additional cents to fund their pension. For police officers, it’s 41 additional cents.