As state leaders look to cut Illinois’ pension costs, the mayor of the state’s largest city is trying to do the same. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel traveled to the capitol today to introduce his own pension plan. Amanda Vinicky reports:
Emanuel wasn’t just presenting his case to state legislators for the publicity, he needs the General Assembly’s approval to make changes to the city’s retirement system.
Without changes, he says, for Chicago to meet its pension obligations, the city’s property taxes would have to increase 150 percent.
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL: “Businesses and families would flee, not just from our city, but from our state.”
Elements of his plan echo the cuts Governor Pat Quinn proposed making to current state employees’ pensions. But the Chicago Mayor says the city needs to take a different path.
Emanuel says city employees should work an extra five years , and he wants them to put an extra five percent of their paychecks into their retirement. He wants workers who are already retired to forgo guaranteed annual cost-of-living increases for a decade. He’s also trying to sell a 401k-style package as an “opportunity” for new employees.
House Speaker Mike Madigan says Emanuel’s appearance bolsters the case for changing both the city and the state pension plans:
SPEAKER MIKE MADIGAN: “I think his presence is helpful on pension reform across the board.”
But unions are already slamming the mayor’s package as unconstitutional, and a scare tactic.