Illinois Unions Might Change Their Celebratory Tune Over Pension Ruling

Though many public employee unions cheered when the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the state's 2013 pension reform law is unconstitutional, Scott Reeder of the Illinois News Network said those same unions might be singing a different tune come budget time.

SPRINGFIELD -- Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it.

Government worker unions had their hopes fulfilled Friday when the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled that public employee pension benefits cannot be cut.

So, if you are a retired government worker, I suppose it is time to rejoice.

But if you are a citizen dependent on government services or someone who works for state or local government, look out.

The pension reform measure sponsored by House Speaker Mike Madigan and signed into law by then-Gov. Pat Quinn has been ruled unconstitutional. The state has underfunded pensions to the tune of $111 billion.

In February, Gov. Bruce Rauner presented an austere budget that cut spending but didn't close a single state facility. The number of state workers would go up slightly under his proposal.

If you think that is going to hold after the high court's ruling, dream on.

The contract for state government's largest labor union expires next month.

And what have been contentious labor negotiations are going to turn brutal.

Really, brutal.


Find out why Reeder says it's going to be brutal at Reboot Illinois.

But even if the state pensions can somehow come up with the money they need to be nearly fully funded, that might not solve all of the state's money problems. Check out the number's breakdown of the pension systems and their funding ratios by author and businessman Will Taylor at Reboot Illinois.