During a Q&A, Ventas CEO Debra Cafaro asked: If people are willing to have “shared sacrifice” and support the graduated income tax, then “why not ask for shared sacrifice across the board and limit the growth of the public employee pension plans?”
The question drew big applause from the business folks who are sensitive to bearing the brunt of taxes when it comes to solving the state’s financial problems. But Pritzker said it’s wrongto connect the two proposals. A constitutional amendment for a graduated income tax is already headed for the 2020 ballot for voters to consider.
And though some might support a separate constitutional change to the pension benefit system, Pritzker says it ain’t gonna happen. The idea already failed in the state Supreme Court in 2013, and lawmakers don’t have the stomach to support it again, he said.
Even if they did, a constitutional pension fix would need voter approval and then, Pritzker added, it would likely be shot down by the U.S. Constitution’s contracts clause.
There are “a lot of other ways” to address the state’s pension problems, he said, pointing to the just-passed pension consolidation bill for police and fire funds and a pension buy-out program.
JB is right on most of this and misses the mark on a few things.
But who’s counting?
It’s been a while since we’ve had a governor who mainly gets it right on public employee pensions.
Certainly not Bruce Rauner.
Certainly not Pat Quinn.
I’ve written often about how a change to the pension protection clause of the Illinois constitution would be meaningless. It could not be applied retroactively to those already in the retirement pension systems. It is unnecessary to change the pensions of future hires.
They have already done that with Tier II and that is a disaster ready to explode.
So, good for JB for recognizing reality. Now go to work on raising the revenue to pay for the needs of the state, including pension obligations.