A state lawmaker is looking at Plan B, in case the pension restructuring enacted last year is struck down in court. The state must find a way to keep pension benefits from growing, because it’ll never be able to come up with the money to fulfill its promises, says State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine). So if the court says the new law is unconstitutional? “I think you’re gonna have to look at a constitutional amendment, because you’re not coming up with $100 billion,” he said.
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At issue would be the clause in the Constitution saying that a state pension cannot be diminished or impaired. An amendment might specify that that applies to the accrual rate, but not to cost-of-living adjustments or other escalators. How would that go? “Well, it’d be fascinating to see. I’m sure the unions would put a little bit of money in on trying to defeat such an initiative,” he said. A lawsuit challenging the pension law will be heard this year in Springfield, and it is expected to quickly rise to the Illinois Supreme Court. The law cuts the automatic 3 percent raise that pension beneficiaries receive, and it raises the retirement age for enrolled workers age 45 and younger.