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Letter: Constitution covers retirees, too

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

As a retiree, I have been reading with interest about the pending lawsuit filed by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton against Gov. Pat Quinn.  

This lawsuit is the result of the governor suspending the salaries of legislators because to show his displeasure with the lack of progress on “pension reform” in the Illinois Legislature.

In a news release issued by Madigan and Cullerton, these gentlemen are quoted as saying that “the Illinois Constitution protects the salaries of members of the judiciary, the legislature, and the executive branch.”

However,  when it comes to protecting  pensions of state employees, Madigan has apparently no qualms in violating the constitutional rights of state employees.

For example, Madigan’s proposal that pension cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) earned by retirees be slashed as part of “pension reform” would diminish the value of retirees’ pensions.  

Diminishing the cost-of-living adjustments earned and paid for by retirees would be in violation of the Illinois Constitution.   

Apparently some of our legislators, including leaders in the Illinois Legislature, think that they are above the rule of law and the Illinois Constitution.  

“Equal protection under the law” is not just for our elected officials, it is for all citizens, including state employees, both current and retired. If our arrogant, self-serving political leaders get away with picking and choosing only those segments of the Illinois Constitution that meet their political needs, our democratic process and legal rights will be on a slippery slope. 

Our elected officials must obey the Illinois Constitution, which they swore to defend and uphold.

Earl Shumaker


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