Reaction to Illinois Supreme Court pension ruling - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Reaction to Illinois Supreme Court pension ruling

By The Associated Press

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday struck down a 2013 law that sought to fix the state's pension crisis. Here is reaction from across the state to the high court's ruling.

"This ruling is a victory for retirees, public employees and everyone who respects the plain language of our Constitution. That victory, however, should be balanced against the grave financial realities we will continue to face without true reforms." - Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat

"The goal of the pension legislation was always in my mind to provide balance between the competing demands on our revenues and the court has taken away our ability to provide that balance. ... I'm not sure that any of the proposals that were considered would have passed." - State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat

""Because most public employees aren't eligible for Social Security, their modest pension_just $32,000 a year on average_is the primary source of retirement income for hundreds of thousands of Illinois families. While workers always paid their share, politicians caused the debt by failing to make adequate contributions to the pension funds," AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan on behalf of coalition of public employee unions.

"We are delighted that today's Supreme Court opinion recognizes and ensures the pension rights of State employees, as required by our Constitution. And we trust that the General Assembly will address the State's fiscal difficulties, in a manner consistent with the Constitution, and in a way that is fair to all the citizens of Illinois." - Gino DiVito, attorney who argued state employees' legal challenge to the Illinois Supreme Court.

"I am committed to working with everyone to find a solution that adheres to the Constitution. We must to work together in bipartisan cooperation with Governor (Bruce) Rauner - who has demonstrated his commitment to tackle the most difficult problems facing Illinois." - Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont

"We have a lot more clarity now and that's valuable. ... There are a lot of limitations placed on the Legislature by this ruling. We need to think carefully about what the options are, what rules can be utilized and design something accordingly." - State Sen. Daniel Biss, an Evanston Democrat

"Ultimately, the only way Illinois can break the cycle of siphoning more and more tax dollars and sacrificing more and more state programs to pay for pensions is to follow the lead of the private sector and move new employees to a 401(k)-style system." - Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman

"There are no winners today. If there's any good news, it's that Chicago and Illinois are resilient, and we've responded to great challenges before." - Ty Fahner, president of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago

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