|Last week was an eventful week regarding public pensions, and the news was all bad. A number of events took place, all of which portend negatively for public employees and their pensions.
First, a judge upheld a move into bankruptcy for the city of Detroit and held that Detroit pensions were not ‘untouchable.’ Then the Illinois legislature pared back benefits for current retirees. Armed with this news, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel saw the action as a blueprint for a further legislative change to be replicated in Chicago, whose members are not directly affected by last week’s bill.
Lastly, a few cities in California, themselves wrestling with bankruptcy, also took note. Stockton and San Bernardino–both in bankruptcy proceedings–now felt emboldened to challenge a previous assumption that pension reductions were off-limits.
All in all, it was a bad week. Even though teachers in Detroit and Chicago are not included–now–in the above rulings, the events will have repercussions nationally. From the Times piece:
“…his ruling is likely to resonate in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and many other American cities where the rising cost of pensions has been crowding out spending for public schools, police departments and other services…”