Civic Federation: City’s Pension Bill "Unaffordable" - NBC Chicago
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Civic Federation: City’s Pension Bill "Unaffordable"

Organization releases report analyzing 2014 city budget proposal



    In its yearly budget analysis, the Civic Federation of Chicago rang the alarm bell about the city’s upcoming pension obligations, calling them "unaffordable" without drastic change in the city’s fiscal strategy.

    In a report released Wednesday, the organization analyzed the proposed 2014 budget, finding that while it supported the mayor’s plans, it believed a fiscal reckoning was on the horizon.

    "This budget should serve as an urgent reminder of the enormous price the City will pay if it is unable to stabilize its pension system," Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, said in a statement. "Mayor Emanuel and his team have made significant fiscal progress in recent years, much of which will be derailed when the City’s unaffordable pension contribution increase takes effect next year."

    The reported noted that the city faces a $590 million increase in its required pension contribution in fiscal year 2015, a rise “so sharp it would require a significant increase in the City’s property tax levy, crippling cuts to City services or both.”

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    The report highlighted a number of specific proposals that could help cut the city’s deficit that it supported, including:

    • Phasing out the City’s retiree healthcare subsidy
    • Creating an independent financial analysis office for the City Council
    • Allowing TIF districts to expire after fulfilling their funding needs and closing unsuccessful TIF districts
    • Increasing targeted tax and fees for additional revenue
    • Increasing TIF transparency by launching TIF data portal online

    As well, the Civic Federation made a series of recommendations to address funding shortfalls in Chicago’s four pension funds that include not pushing back pension contributions and funding level goals, pursuing pension fund consolidation and reform governance of the related pension boards.