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Pension case on the fast track

The Illinois Supreme Court gets it. The justices have agreed to fast track the case challenging Illinois’ government pension reforms. That means they understand the state is in dire financial shape and future spending hangs on the case’s outcome. Illinois’ pension debt is more than $110 billion and growing. The justices realize that every day without a decision puts the state and its taxpayers in that much deeper of a hole.

Oral arguments are expected in March.

State leaders need to know where the court stands on the constitutionality of the reforms so they can plan their next steps. Some civic leaders want lawmakers to be thinking about what they will do if the law gets thrown out. No doubt they are. But there are so many variations of what the court could do – throw it out completely, keep certain parts – that hypothetical planning is not much help.

Let’s hope the justices also understand that the extreme pension guarantees in the state Constitution are cost-prohibitive and so threaten the future of Illinois that they cannot be allowed to stand.