Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rahm's Pension Fix Clears Committee, Heads to House

The Personnel and Pensions Committee OK'd the proposal sponsored by Speaker Michael Madigan 6-4 on Wednesday

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel discussed his pension fix at a City Hall meeting Wednesday.

An Illinois House committee has given quick approval to a plan by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to bail out two Chicago pension systems.

The Personnel and Pensions Committee OK'd the proposal sponsored by Speaker Michael Madigan 6-4 on Wednesday. The Chicago Democrat says he will call it for a floor vote Wednesday.

Emanuel announced Monday what he said was an agreement with labor unions to raise property taxes by $250 million over five years to help cut in half a nearly $20 billion shortfall. The deficit in municipal and laborers funds would be cut over 40 years.

"We were going to be getting to the point where we were going to have to pick between making a pension payment or paving a road. Making a pension payment or providing for public safety," Emanuel said at a City Hall meeting Wednesday. "I don’t think those are the right choices, not when you can actually do something about it ahead of time to secure both a pension in a responsible way that the city can afford."

The mayor's fast-tracked plan heads to the full House for consideration, then the Senate.

"Everybody in my view gives something so nobody has to give everything," Emanuel said. "And that's the common ground

Republican Rep. David McSweeney of Barrington Hills says the increase is really $750 million because taxes will go up an additional $50 million each year. He says that is unacceptable.

Illinois' Senate Republican leader says she's advised her caucus to oppose the plan.

Christine Radogno of Lemont told a Senate committee Wednesday that the state is in "continual crisis mode" with spending and revenue. She says she wants to see a long-term plan from the city dealing with its other troubled pension funds.

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