- Associated Press - Friday, May 8, 2015

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday struck down a 2013 law that sought to fix the state’s pension crisis. Here is reaction from across the state to the high court’s ruling.

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“”The Supreme Court’s decision confirms that benefits earned cannot be reduced. That’s fair and right, and why the governor long maintained that SB 1 is unconstitutional. What is now clear is that a Constitutional Amendment clarifying the distinction between currently earned benefits and future benefits not yet earned, which would allow the state to move forward on common-sense pension reforms, should be part of any solution.” - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.

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“This ruling is a victory for retirees, public employees and everyone who respects the plain language of our Constitution. That victory, however, should be balanced against the grave financial realities we will continue to face without true reforms.” - Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat

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“This decision is a call to go back to the negotiating table and get serious about the range of options available to us to repair the state’s finances and meet its obligations in ways consistent with the constitution, sustainable for the future and fair to all concerned.” - Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago.

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“Because most public employees aren’t eligible for Social Security, their modest pension_just $32,000 a year on average_is the primary source of retirement income for hundreds of thousands of Illinois families. While workers always paid their share, politicians caused the debt by failing to make adequate contributions to the pension funds,” AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan on behalf of coalition of public employee unions.

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“We are delighted that today’s Supreme Court opinion recognizes and ensures the pension rights of State employees, as required by our Constitution. And we trust that the General Assembly will address the State’s fiscal difficulties, in a manner consistent with the Constitution, and in a way that is fair to all the citizens of Illinois.” - Gino DiVito, attorney who argued state employees’ legal challenge to the Illinois Supreme Court.

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“I am committed to working with everyone to find a solution that adheres to the Constitution. We must to work together in bipartisan cooperation with Governor (Bruce) Rauner - who has demonstrated his commitment to tackle the most difficult problems facing Illinois.” - Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont

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“Ultimately, the only way Illinois can break the cycle of siphoning more and more tax dollars and sacrificing more and more state programs to pay for pensions is to follow the lead of the private sector and move new employees to a 401(k)-style system.” - Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman

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“As a result of this opinion, employees retiring from the State of Illinois should have confidence in their pensions. And our members, members of the State Universities Retirement System, can take comfort in knowing that their service to the students of this State did not deprive them of their retirement benefits.” - Linda Brookhart, executive director of the State Universities Annuitants Association

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“There are no winners today. If there’s any good news, it’s that Chicago and Illinois are resilient, and we’ve responded to great challenges before.” - Ty Fahner, president of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago

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