Daley: Pension reform bill is a "staggering blow"

December 2, 2010

(WBEZ/Bill Healy)
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley spoke out against a pension reform bill Thursday at Navy Pier.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn won't say if he'll sign pension reform legislation passed Thursday by the Illinois state Senate. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is strongly opposed to the measure.

The bill would cut benefits to future police officers and firefighters, while increasing city obligations to under-funded pension systems.

Daley said that would lead to a tremendous burden on Chicago taxpayers.

"This will be a staggering blow to Chicago's property taxes," Daley said. "It would be the largest property tax increase in the history of the city of Chicago during an economic crisis, an economic crisis in every home and in every job in Chicago and in the state of Illinois."

Daley said the city would owe at least an additional $550 million each year beginning in 2015.

The legislation would require police officers and firefighters hired after January first to work until age 55, instead of 50, to receive full benefits, which would be lower. Current employees would not be affected by the bill.

A spokesman in Senate President John Cullerton's office said follow-up legislation to address some concerns is under discussion.