Quick Hit Adam Doster Monday April 26th, 2010, 9:06am

Greising Ignores Legal Dispute Over Pensions

Joshua Rauh, a finance professor at Northwestern University, is not a fan of the pension reform measure the General Assembly passed in March. "It was like praising a doctor who has been watching a patient bleed to death and then orders a band-aid," he wrote at his school's finance blog on April 15. To erase the state's pension debt overhang, Rauh thinks deeper cuts are in order. That means altering the pension benefit packages of current employees, a move he tells the Chicago News-Cooperative's David Greising is "legal."  What Greising fails to tell readers, however, is that the legality is very much in dispute.

Indeed, former Illinois Appellate Court judge Gino DiVito distributed a legal memo on April 13 arguing the language in the Illinois Constitution protecting current employee pensions is "crystal clear." In an April 9 Tribune op-ed, former judge and congressman Abner Mikva came to the same conclusion.

It's not clear why Greising ignored these arguments. Any fair piece wouldn't omit them entirely.


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