Chicago pensions

Rachel Otwell

  Lawmakers haven't touched state pension benefits since the Illinois Supreme Court ruled their previous attempt unconstitutional.  That was nearly a year-and-a-half-ago. But Governor Bruce Rauner says he's "pretty excited": He thinks they will pass a new law this winter.

"I think we can come to a ... important solution to fund our pension structure. Again: Protect existing benefits, but put in place new options that are more affordable that employees can choose among, with their own choice, their own options."  

100 Club of Chicago

Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed a plan to reduce Chicago's payments to its police and fire pension funds for each of the next five years.

He says it's the kind of “irresponsible” practice that led to Illinois' deep financial woes.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said after the Friday veto that the Republican governor “just told every Chicago taxpayer to take a hike.'' Emanuel says it will lead to ``the Rauner tax.''

The Legislature approved the measure last year. Democrats said it would save the retirement funds without crushing taxpayers.

"Courtroom One Gavel" by Flickr User Beth Cortez-Neavel / (CC BY 2.0)

Justices had some harsh words Thursday for city officials in a ruling.

For years, the City of Chicago skipped putting money into pension funds. And now, attorneys say two pension accounts will run out of money in a decade.

Mayor Emanuel had come to an agreement with several unions to reduce employee benefits to make sure they even have a retirement account, but Illinois Supreme Court justices said the state constitution won’t let them do that.

Chicago Borrowing $220 Million for Pensions

Mar 23, 2016
Wikimedia/Daniel Schwen

The city of Chicago is borrowing $220 million to show it has enough money for pension payments later this year.

The mayor’s office is banking on Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign a bill that would reduce this year’s big police and fire pension payment. That payment isn’t due just yet, but the city’s budget office says state law requires them to show there’s enough money. The city decided to draw from a line of credit that has a 3 percent interest rate.

Mayor.cityofchicago.org

Attorneys for the City of Chicago say city employees will be worse off if Supreme Court justices strike down their pension plan.

A Cook County judge sided with unions in ruling against changes Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to make to city employees’ retirement benefits.

In the city’s appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, attorneys write that the two pension funds will run out of money within 13 years without changes. They argue employees may sue the city to put money into the pensions.

Pages