Once again, unions in Illinois are issuing the same complaints about another
SPARE A DIME? Chicago is looking at tax hikes, modest pension reforms to
close a $19.5 billion gap.
"The City's proposal is an unconstitutional approach that makes onerous cuts
to the pension benefits of nearly 50,000 active and retired public
servants," says a statement from the union group We Are One Chicago.
"These cuts are all the more devastating considering that these cafeteria
workers, librarians, health care employees, food and water safety inspectors,
nurses and others do not receive any Social Security benefits."
What are these "unconstitutional" and "devastating" cuts?
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants public workers to pay 2.5 percent more
toward their retirements, and he wants to tweak cost-of-living raises.
Some 50,000 workers would still receive defined benefit pensions and a
guaranteed paycheck for the rest of their lives — the checks would just be a
Taxpayers are going to see their property taxes rise to make up for the
city's share of the new pension funding plan, Emanuel told the Chicago
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Chicago already has the second-highest property tax rate
in the country.
Emanuel is facing a $19.5 billion city pension debt. He
hopes his new plan would cut that in half.
But it doesn't go far enough, according to Bob Williams, president
of State Budget Solutions, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy
"The solution is to provide true retirement security by keeping our
promises (guaranteeing the pension benefits earned are not reduced);
keeping our communities strong and safe (by not being forced to cut
other essential services in order to make pension payments) and
keeping politicians out of government employees' pensions," Williams
told Illinois Watchdog. "This can best be done by putting all
employees in a defined-contribution (401 (k)-style) plan right now."
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