SPRINGFIELD, IL â€“ Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement on the Illinois Supreme Courtâ€™s decision in Kanerva v. Weems that a 2012 law altering state retireesâ€™ health insurance benefits violated the Pensions Clause of the Illinois Constitution:
The Illinois Supreme Court has resoundingly affirmed what I have always known to be true: that our state constitution protects public employees and does not allow state government to break its promises.
In 2012, I voted against the law the high court has now declared unconstitutional, because changing the rules on individuals who have based financial decisions on their constitutionally guaranteed benefits is no way to treat those who have dedicated their lives to serving the people of this state.
I have also refused to support the General Assemblyâ€™s attempts to unilaterally diminish the pension benefits due to our teachers, university employees and state employees, placing the burden of Illinoisâ€™ financial woes on the backs of faithful public servants.
I am grateful that our judicial system stands firm for the constitution and against abandoning promises when the obligations of our laws become burdensome. I urge my colleagues to broaden the scope of options on the table, honestly examining our corporate tax structure as we revisit the question of public employee benefits and their impact on the budget.