* Attorney General Lisa Madigan responded yesterday to the multiple lawsuits filed against the pension reform law. The Tribune’s Rick Pearson has a very good story about her arguments…
In arguing to uphold the law, Madigan’s office contended that since 2000 and the subsequent recession, the state’s underfunding of the pension systems “contributed significantly to a severe financial crisis…that adversely affected the long-term financial soundness of those retirement systems, the cost of financing the state’s operations and outstanding debt, and the state’s abilty to provide critical services to Illinois residents and businesses.
“Although the systems have been underfunded for many years, their underfunding now greatly exceeds the state’s annual budget for all categories of expenditure, including, without limitation, public education, public health and safety, medical coverage for the poor and for current and retired public employees, road construction, repair and maintenance, and all other public services provided by state employees,” the attorney general’s response to the challenges said. […]
The state’s response also argued that a significant driver of the unfunded liability, annual 3 percent compounded cost of living adjustments on retiree pensions, was not a “core benefit” that would be protected by the state constitution.
The law “is a permissible exercise of the State of Illinois’ reserved sovereign powers (sometimes referred to as the State’s police powers),” Madigan’s response said, adding that those challenging the statute “cannot sustain their burden of establishing that (it) is unconstitutional.”
* Here are AG Madigan’s
four five responses…
* We Are One lawsuit
* ISEA lawsuit
* Doris Heaton et al vs. TRS
* State University Annuitants Association vs. SURS
* ADDING: RSEA lawsuit