Rauner’s pension cost shift, cuts to retiree health care is unconstitutional and not politically sustainable.

RAUNER

Rauner will end his four years as governor the way he started them by proposing an austerity budget, the major components of which will go no place. Yet it will still cause real harm and worry for tens of thousands of people in Illinois who depend on the state for basic services.

Rauner’s budget includes cuts to programs supporting those with Autism, combatting infant mortality, drug addiction, housing services, immigrant services, community health services and support for infants and children.

The centerpiece of Rauner’s austerity budget is a shift of pension costs from the state to local government and schools districts. Rauner also wants a cut to the partial state subsidy to retiree health care.

Recall that Rauner became governor with a 40 point Turnaround Agenda and a similar austerity budget. Most of the Turnaround Agenda – a mix of anti-union and anti-worker proposals – is in a landfill somewhere in the state.

Recall also that the state had no budget for more than half of Rauner’s first term.

His pension shift won’t happen. Neither will his cut to health insurance subsidies.

The first is not politically sustainable. The second is unconstitutional.

As to the cut to the health care subsidy, the Illinois Supreme Court has already ruled that the pension protection clause protects more than the pension annuity.  It protects all “benefits” of membership in a pension system, including health insurance benefits.

As to the pension cost shift.  If you believe, as many do, that Illinois’ fundamental revenue problem is its reliance on local property taxes along with a flat income tax, the Rauner’s pension cost shift only makes matters worse.

If you believe that a majority of the members of the Illinois legislature will vote to raise local property taxes in their home districts in order to fund their schools, you’re as nutty as the governor is.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Rauner’s pension cost shift, cuts to retiree health care is unconstitutional and not politically sustainable.

  1. The first is not politically sustainable. The second is unconstitutional.

    Given current rulings, the first is probably unconstitutional also as it substantially undermines the obligation to pay full pensions. Unless school districts are given massive new taxing authority, most will never come close to shouldering the financial burden. Most school districts are on the brink of insolvency as it is – let alone taking on pension obligations.

    1. As I predict, the pension cost shift will never pass the legislature, will never get to the governor’s desk and will never have to be ruled on by the court. But if it did, you are correct that it would be ruled a violation of the constitutional pension protection clause.

  2. More of the same. Throw it back to the Dems to fix, then block them at every turn by not negotiating or veto. A rerun.

  3. Mostly a political gimmick. Even if they shift the future “employer contribution” to local school districts, it won’t reduce the state’s obligation to pay the $100plus billions they already owe.

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