On November 17, 2015 the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Jones v. Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago. In Jones, the trial court found the Chicago pension reform law unconstitutional as a violation of article 13, section 5 of the constitution.
The City of Chicago argued that the reform law is constitutional because it prevents the pension fund from going insolvent by requiring the City to make the annual actuarial requirement to the pension fund each year. The City also argued that 27 of 31 unions supported the legislation and therefore the reform law represents a bargained for consideration for the “minimal” reduction of benefits. As such, the reform law does not diminish or impair benefits but actually protects them.
The pensioners argued that the reform law simply reduces benefits in violation of article 13, section 5 of the constitution. As such, the reform law is no different than the law the supreme court struck down in In re Pension Reform Litigation.