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Senate Pres.: Cutting Pension Benefits Is Unconstitutional

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Illinois Senate Chambers

Illinois Senate Chambers (Getty Images file photo)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM) – Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) says cutting pension benefits for current state employees is, in his words, “clearly unconstitutional.”

As WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Cullerton cites a legal analysis.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Legal counsel Eric Madiar conducted the analysis for the Illinois Senate Democrats, and says it would indeed be unconstitutional for the General Assembly to cut back pension benefits for current state employees.

“Illinois is one of maybe five states or three states – such as New York, Arizona, Georgia – which really provides absolute constitutional protection to the pension benefits for public employees,” Madiar said.

He said the 1970 Illinois Constitutional Convention delegates were concerned about the fact that like now, the state was not making required contributions to the five pension systems, and might be tempted to squeeze pensions even more.

So, Madiar says, they approved specific language protecting the benefits.

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