Chicago

Emanuel Applauds Bipartisan Effort to Override Rauner’s Pension Veto

The mayor praised the Illinois legislature for overturning Rauner's veto of a bill that deals with Chicago fire and police pensions

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During a Tuesday press conference, Mayor Rahm Emanuel lauded Illinois lawmakers’ efforts to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a plan to reduce Chicago's payments to its police and fire pension funds. 

“Not only do I want to thank our allies in both parties in both chambers, I also want to thank allies in labor and business and community groups who came together to help us with the effort,” Emanuel said. “It helped Chicago avoid raising property taxes another $300 million that was not necessary.”

Last week, Rauner vetoed the plan that would save the city an estimated $1 billion by decreasing pension payments over the next five years, saying it was the kind of "irresponsible" practice that led to Illinois' deep financial woes.

Following Friday’s veto, Emanuel said the Republican governor "just told every Chicago taxpayer to take a hike." Emanuel also said the move would lead to "the Rauner tax."

Rauner called Monday's override vote "unfortunate," saying the move puts an additional $18.6 billion "on the backs of taxpayers."

"Clearly, those who supported this measure haven’t recognized what happens when governments fail to promptly fund pension obligations," Rauner said in a statement. "Instead of kicking the can down the road, local and state governments should instead focus on reforms that will grow our economy, create jobs and enable us live up to the promises we’ve made to police and firefighters.”

Emanuel rebuffed Rauner’s claims Tuesday.

“This is not kicking the can down the road, this is actually confronting the issue,” Emanuel said.

The Legislature approved the Chicago police and fire pension bill last year. Democrats said it would save the retirement funds without crushing taxpayers.

Chicago's payments to the funds are set to jump to $840 million this year, up from $300 million. The legislation would set the 2016 payment at $619 million.

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