Supreme Court of Illinois affirms merging of police and fire pensions

The Center Square  (AIEXPRESS) – The Illinois Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the merging of local firefighter and police pension funds is constitutional.

In 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker took action to merge approximately 650 pension funds for first responders into two separate funds – one for police and another for firefighters. Recently, the state’s highest court unanimously upheld the constitutionality of this decision, despite facing opposition from various sources.

Several local police and fire pension officials filed a lawsuit against Pritzker, claiming that the consolidation was unconstitutional. However, on Friday, the state’s highest court ruled in favor of the consolidation.

According to the opinion, the Act mandates that each local fund maintains its own account within the statewide fund. These assets are specifically allocated to cover the benefits of the local fund’s members and to handle operational costs.

The judgment of the appellate court, which upheld the circuit court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the defendants and against the plaintiffs, is affirmed for the reasons stated above.

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Pritzker expressed his approval of the decision.

Illinois Governor, J.B. Pritzker, expressed his satisfaction with the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of the bipartisan pension reform law. He stated that this ruling serves as confirmation that Illinois can achieve smart and thoughtful pension reform.

Pritzker further emphasized the significance of this accomplishment, highlighting that previous attempts spanning 70 years had been unsuccessful, but his administration, along with the General Assembly, managed to achieve meaningful reform during his first term in office.

According to Sheila Weinberg from Truth in Accounting, the consolidation allows for better control over investments by bringing the pension funds together.

According to Weinberg, the consolidation of investments allows for a single entity to handle investment planning and decision-making. This ensures that each city maintains the same level of debt, while streamlining the management of investments. According to Weinberg, the funds could potentially benefit from higher returns resulting from larger investments.

According to Weinberg, local governments with a tax cap face limitations in generating sufficient funds. As a result, they often struggle to meet the financial requirements for providing benefits mandated by the state legislature to the police and fire departments.

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