As lawmakers continue to hash out a pension reform deal, the Illinois attorney general is ready to go to court if an agreement is legally challenged. Any new pension law is expected to face a court challenge. Enter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (pictured), who would have to review a pension plan, determine if it is worth defending, and if it is, then defend it in court.
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“We believe, unfortunately, that it would be challenged in court, so then we’ll be in the position, as the attorney general’s office, to defend what’s passed, but at the end of the day it really is probably going to come down to the interpretation of the Illinois Supreme Court in terms of what is going to be legitimate to do for the pension changes,” Madigan said.
Many ideas for a pension fix have been floated in Springfield including extending the temporary income tax increase set to expire in 2015, increasing the retirement age, increasing employee contributions and starting a 401(k)-type retirement plan for new and existing employees. Employee unions contend that employee pensions are protected under the state Constitution and therefore aren’t a bargaining chip. The five state pension systems have an unfunded liability of $96 billion.