Potential payday for firefighters highlights city's long-term pension problem

February 9, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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(Getty/Scott Olson)
Chicago firefighters could receive $94 million in back pay if City Council votes to approve a new contract.

It looks like today might be a big payday for Chicago firefighters. Earlier this week the Finance Committee recommended ponying up nearly four years of back pay—some $94 million in total. Meanwhile as the city scrambles to find money for that bill, it faces an even greater financial IOU — municipal employee pension obligations.

And the city is operating under a tight deadline. If funding of pension obligations doesn’t increase by 2015, the city will have to raise property taxes, according to a new law signed by Governor Quinn.

DePaul University Economics professor Thomas Mondschean joined Eight Forty-Eight to break down the math.

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