Governor Quinn indicates he is aware that the 2010 reforms aren't enough to solve the state's massive pension funding shortfall. He's put together a task force to examine deeper reforms but gave no indications as to what is being considered. The Governor notes, "Fixing the pension problem will not be easy, but we have no choice. We must do it together in a way that is meaningful, constitutional and fair to the employees who have faithfully contributed to the system."
Indeed as Benjamin VanMetre and I discuss in our recent paper. . .
. . .Illinois Fiscal Breaking Points, meaningful pension reform inIllinois is hampered by how the state constitution has been interpreted concerning pension benefits:
"Legislators cite the 1970 Illinois state constitution as the reason they cannot reduce or alter the current pension formulas for current employees, including reducing accrual rates going forward. The constitution states, "Membership in any pension or retirement system of the state, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired."50 This has been interpreted to mean that pension benefits and formulas may not be changed for current employees, including the benefits that have not yet been earned. Only the pension benefits of future employees may be altered."We propose the state revisit that constitutional provision.
Given the constitutional controversy over pensions in Illinois, it will be interesting to see what the Governor's Task Force proposes.