* Fred Giertz doesn’t buy into claims by some that a “dysfunctional” General Assembly passed a pension reform bill a couple years back…
Is not the approval of a poorly targeted bill that likely was unconstitutional and that entailed a substantial political cost a prima facie case for dysfunctionality?
There is another explanation why intelligent and calculating legislators would engage in this futile effort. Politicians have notoriously short-time horizons. The failed pension-reform process bought the governor and General Assembly time. It allowed them to kick the can down the road with a degree of political cover. From the passage of the bill in December 2013 to the time it was ruled unconstitutional in May 2015, politicians could assert they were dealing with pension problems. This was useful in navigating the 2014 elections.
In addition, the failed pension bill provided politicians with a response to criticism from the Chicago Tribune and the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago who advocated reforms similar to those in Senate Bill 1. Politicians can argue they tried to implement the proposed reforms and failed through no fault of their own.
Well, yeah. I figured everybody already knew that.