The other shoe will drop anytime.
The labor coalition We Are One Illinois is preparing a lawsuit over the pension bill, which the legislature passed Tuesday and which Gov. Pat Quinn signed Thursday. The unions say the restructuring amounts to an unconstitutional reduction of benefits, and, what’s more, the state’s financial condition is not dire enough to warrant police powers overriding the state Constitution.
Fixing the state’s finances, says AFSCME Council 31 deputy director Roberta Lynch, can start with imposing higher tax rates upon wealthier Illinoisans. “More than 100 organizations are supporting an effort to have a constitional amendment” for a graduated income tax.
It’s too early to say whether the new law will cook anybody’s politcial goose. Lynch says a number of factors will go into a union endorsement decision in next year’s gubernatorial election. While three of the five major candidates oppose the pension deal, the only thing certain, Lynch says, is that the unions won’t back Republican financier Bruce Rauner.
“He doesn’t want working people to have any retirement security at all. That’s his objection to this bill: that it still leaves people with a shred of retirement security,” Lynch says, “whereas his program is to destroy retirement security altogether.”
In addition to Quinn, a Democrat, State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) supported the bill. The other two Republicans, State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford, did not.
Lynch says a better solution would be a Senate-passed, union-backed measure which saves less but would supposedly not draw a lawsuit. The House never called that bill.