Illinois can’t seem to stop itself from digging pension holes. Back in September, Chicago settled a two-week-long strike by giving its teachers a 17.6 raise over the next four years while ignoring that its penion fund pays out more in benefits each year than it brings in. On Tuesday, voters statewide rejected a proposed amendment to the constitution that would have raised the threshold for any enhancements to the state’s pension plan from a simple majority to a three-fifths vote. This proposal was solely about good governance, and it could have put Illinois in with a handful of other states that have used similar governance provisions to protect against hasty benefit increases. Illinois has the worst-funded state pension plan in the country; Tuesday’s vote should be a stark reminder of just how difficult it is to enact even relatively straightforward changes to pension plans.
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