A coalition of mayors and municipal groups says proposals to fix underfunded pensions for cops and firefighters outside of Chicago is “merely window dressing,” casting doubt on whether a deal can get done before state lawmakers adjourn next week.
The changes to the bill by Illinois' House Speaker and Mayor Rahm Emanuel remove controversial language requiring a Chicago property tax increase to ease the city's pension crisis. But the changes may end up being more political than practical.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn won’t say whether he backs a partial fix to Chicago’s troubled pension systems. The blueprint from Mayor Rahm Emanuel would raise property taxes by $50 million a year for the next five years.
Political deal-making and market flops have certainly contributed to Chicago’s $19.5 billion public pension crisis. But as Mayor Rahm Emanuel hunts for solutions, experts say one thing must change: Illinois’ archaic, “one-of-a-kind” pension math that may have set Chicago up for failure decades ago.