The candidates for governor not only disagree on last year’s pension reform law, they disagree on whether the state should have a backup plan ready in case it’s declared unconstitutional. Gov. Pat Quinn says he believes developing new pension legislation for that possibility would send the wrong message to the Illinois Supreme Court, and hurt the state’s defense of the law which he supported. “I think it is constitutional,” Quinn said. “I think it’s a hard thing to do, a necessary thing to do.”
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Bruce Rauner has maintained the law will be struck down by the courts, and says Quinn and state lawmakers should have been working on an alternative solution. “We’ve lost valuable time,” Rauner said. “I believe it’s both unfair and unconstitutional to reduce the payments to retirees.” Rauner favors freezing the current pension systems and setting up a 401(k)-style plan for future work, though the numbers on that appear unworkable. That proposal is opposed by the same labor unions suing over the law signed by Quinn. The Illinois Supreme Court will hear arguments from both sides in the pension reform lawsuit on Nov. 20.