Letters to the Editor

Letter: Pension system has been reformed

To the Editor:

In response to Robert Gebhardt's question "Why can’t our Democratic leadership amend Illinois’ “constitutional untouchable” public pension system?" most of the calls for pension "reform" conveniently neglect to note that the system has already been reformed.

As of Jan 1, 2011, newly hired individuals under a state pension plan enter Tier 2, which offers far lower benefits than those of persons hired before that date, who are in Tier 1. This did not require any tinkering with the constitution, as it applied only to new hires, and other changes could certainly be made in the future. There has been talk of a Tier 3 that combines pension and 401(k) concepts in one package, but it's not been implemented.

Those calling for a new amendment to modify the so-called Pension Protection Clause seem to think such a change would allow for cutting benefits to current retirees, but that would be unconstitutional under the US Constitution - an ex post facto change.

The state might try such a move, but it would end up in a lengthy, costly court battle at best. The annual "normal cost" of pensions, the amount being earned by each current employee, is only a small part of the pension debt, which is the result of years of intentional underfunding of the pension systems by administrations of both parties.

That debt won't be wiped out by a constitutional amendment that isn't needed and won't apply retroactively anyhow. The state needs to reamortize the debt to get rid of the impossible Edgar ramp and pay it off like we all do our mortgages.

The ramp is nothing more than a long term ARM, which was never a sound idea.

James Lockard

Sycamore

Loading more

Digital Access

Digital Access
Access nwherald.com and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.