Illinois Legislature OKs Chicago Pension Overhaul
By the Associated Press, With Additional Reporting from Illinois Public Radio
The state Legislature has approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan for overhauling two Chicago pension programs, sending the measure to Gov. Pat Quinn.
The Senate voted 31-23 Tuesday on the proposal to cut benefits and increase city and employee contributions to help reduce a $9 billion shortfall.
The shortfall is in accounts covering 57,000 employees and retirees among municipal workers and laborers.
It hinges on a plan by Democrat Emanuel to raise property taxes by $750 million over five years.
State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) were among those advocating for it.
"And I tell you, if I’m in that system and I’m 60 years old and I’m told that when I’m 75, I’m no longer going to be getting a benefit check, that’s not something I want to see happen," she said.
Some House lawmakers from Chicago and Republicans opposed the plan. They criticized it because Emanuel wants to raise Chicago property taxes to bolster the pensions.
The Illinois House approved the measure earlier Tuesday after House Speaker Michael Madigan removed language that included a Chicago city property tax increase.
Senate Republicans complained that the city still faces shortfalls in three other pension accounts.
Quinn wouldn't say if he will sign the bill.