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What's Next for Chicago's Pension Problems?

A Cook County judge on Friday ruled that Chicago's plan to change city workers’ pensions was unconstitutional. Judge Rita Novak wrote that the Constitution of Illinois provides that public pensions “shall not be diminished or impaired.”

Her ruling mirrors the Illinois Supreme Court’s recent decision that state lawmakers are constitutionally prevented from reducing public workers’ pensions. The city vows to appeal the decision. 

We look at the ruling, whether any pension reform can be constitutional, what the consequences are to the city's plummeting bond rating, and whether the city will have to raise taxes to cover the pension liability.

Joining us are Michael Belsky, a lecturer and fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago; Darlene Sanger, a former Republican state representative who is serving as the Illinois Policy Institute’s external relations officer; Laurence Msall, president of The Civic Federation; and Ann Lousin, constitutional law professor at the John Marshall Law School.

Watch a press conference following Friday’s ruling with union representatives, retirees, and an attorney who worked on the plaintiffs’ behalf. 

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