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Megan McArdle

Save the Pensions: No Sudden Moves, Please

Illinois should cut benefits slowly, starting immediately.
This can't be the only backup plan as pensions struggle.

This can't be the only backup plan as pensions struggle.

Photographer: Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images

What do states owe workers?

That's a question we're going to be asking a lot as states wrestle with growing pension obligations that weren't properly funded. Illinois courts have just ruled that the state's attempt to curtail its pension benefits cannot go forward. The Chicago Tribune boils it down: "In its ruling, the court restated that state worker retirement benefits that are promised on the first day of work cannot be later reduced during their term of employment, only increased."