Illinois Supreme Court Defends Inflated Pensions for Chicago Union Leaders

The word inflated applies to a lot more pensions than just those for union leaders mentioned here. Some day Illinois Republicans and conservatives will have to wake up and see that this is a winning issue for them — over-taxed taxpayers will revolt once they’re given a plan to correct these abuses.

Here is Adam Schuster from the Illinois Policy Institute:

Once again proving why the state must amend the Illinois Constitution’s pension clause, the court unanimously ruled in favor of a special perk that inflated union leader pensions to nearly three times the pension of the average worker.

The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled Nov. 29 that the state constitution’s pension clause protects a perk granting inflated post-retirement pay – one that only benefits government employees who work for their unions.

The decision declares untouchable a pension-spiking provision available only to a select few workers, and underscores the need for a constitutional amendment and comprehensive pension reform in Illinois. According to one estimate, those inflated pensions will cost taxpayers more than $50 million.

In the decision – Carmichael v. Laborers’ & Retirement Board Employees’ Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago – the court held the Illinois General Assembly could not rescind a pension- spiking perk for employees of the city of Chicago and Chicago Board of Education who take time away from their government jobs to work for their unions.

Pension benefits are typically calculated as a percentage of a retiree’s government salary near the end of employment, with a higher percentage of salary granted based on years of service. But for certain retired Chicago union leaders, their pensions will instead be based on their union salaries, which were higher than what they earned in their positions with their government employers. As a result, their pensions will be nearly three times higher than the typical retired city worker, according to a 2011 report from the Chicago Tribune.

Read more: Illinois Policy Institute