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Government’s promise dashed by ‘reform’ law

Published: Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

A new pension law was passed that affects only state employees and retirees. Newspapers and politicians, including our governor, have been trying to persuade the public it was essential to pass this “reform” of the pension system.

It was approved by only one Senate vote. Dozens of senators and representatives voted against it on the grounds of constitutionality. If that many of our assemblymen found serious fault with it, this should be signal enough for the public to observe the results with doubting minds.

Several who voted for it have been busy trying to explain away why they voted for this discriminatory law.

There is, and never was, anything wrong with the pension system that needed reform. The only thing wrong is the Legislature for several years decided not to fund it.

The pension system has been canonized into law, into the Illinois Constitution. The Legislature has found in some prior actions it has acted in violation of our constitution, and I predict the same result will occur with this pension law.

Employees have invested their lives – 20, 25, 35, 40 years or more – paying regularly into the pension system, with full faith the state will honor its promise to its employees. It’s a sad day when your own government decides to break its promise to its own employees.

Thousands of government employees don’t qualify for Social Security. They depend entirely on their state pension to survive. Some older retirees draw as little as $350 a month. Hundreds depend on food banks and food stamps on a daily basis.

Those are among the most vulnerable of Illinois citizens – those who’ve taught your children; those who’ve kept the communities safe; those who’ve provided assistance to the needy.

There are dozens of ways to correct the financial disaster the state finds itself in. Taking money from the elderly is not the right way.

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