May 31, 2012

From the Illinois State Constitution, as ratified by the voters of Illinois in 1970:

Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or
any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which
shall not be diminished or impaired.

Illinois legislators: Was that so hard to understand? Did you have to swear an oath when you were sworn in to your current positions?

Oh, I forgot – They’ve just learned from the President and the US Congress…



  1. When — I don’t think the question is a matter of if — the State of Illinois goes belly-up bankrupt, will the State then go before a bankruptcy court? With the State overwhelmed with debt obligations — and no resident of the State required or obligated to stay — will the courts, then, refuse to diminish or impair those contracts?

    There’s been a cozy quid-pro-quo relationship among government-union workers, their unions, and Democrat legislators and bureaucrats. Left out of the “employer”/employee negotiations have been the taxpayers.

    Those unaffordable pensions will end. Just a matter of how and when.

    • I don’t think it necessarily is a matter of “when.” Handled correctly, the state of Illinois could come out of its financial problems just as other states (Wisconsin and Kansas come to mind) have done. I’m not saying there haven’t been cozy relationships among those groups sometimes, or that they haven’t been detrimental to the state budget and to taxpayers, but the fact of the matter is that a big part of our state’s financial problems is due to our tax levels. Businesses have been leaving the state for years now, and the only way we seem to attract businesses here is to bribe them with tax breaks, therefore negating the reason for bringing them here in the first place. (OK, only in part, since individuals still pay taxes.)

      My point is that the way to balance a state’s budget is not to ignore the Constitution. There are lots of things that need to be changed in the way the state of Illinois is managed, not the least of which is to out representatives who have been there so long and amassed so much power.

      Also, I think referring to “government-worker unions” en masse is too broad. I wonder what would happen if the members of those unions were not required to belong to them? Look at Wisconsin and Indiana. I was member of a union for 34 years because I was required to be. In Wisconsin the number of union members has dropped almost 50% in the last few years. If unions cannot force workers to join, they lose much of their power. Give us a right work work state and see how things change.

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