* Make sure to read the last sentence in this section of Doug Finke’s latest column…
The state finally filed its response last week to the five pension-reform lawsuits.
It essentially raised the arguments most thought it would. The pension debt is so severe that the pressures it was putting on the state’s efforts to meet its other obligations justifies the reforms.
Opponents of the reform law have argued pension benefits represent a contract between the state and public employees and thus cannot be changed. The response from the state, though, says the extraordinary nature of the problem allows the state to modify those contracts, including those established under the pension-protection clause of the Illinois Constitution.
At least, it appears that way. The pension-protection provisions are under Article XIII of the state Constitution. The state’s response makes reference to Article XII, which deals with the militia.