Kicking the Can Down the Road
Rahm releases his preliminary 2015 budget...guess what doesn't get addressed?
- Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday accused the Illinois Supreme Court of throwing a “wet blanket” on pension reform talks with police and fire unions and said he’s hoping for a statewide solution to the problem that might include a sales tax on services.
In a meeting with the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board, Emanuel explained why he ignored the elephant in the room — a state-mandated, $550 million payment to shore up police and fire pensions — in a pre-election budget that bolsters services with higher taxes on parking, car leasing and cable television.
Emanuel said he’s determined to “hold to the principle that reform and revenue go together,” just as he did in crafting a deal that saved the Municipal Employees and Laborers pension funds, with a telephone tax hike covering the first year of the city’s increased obligations.
But he argued that the Illinois Supreme Court made that impossible when it ruled in July that subsidized health care premiums for state employees are protected under the state Constitution and cannot be “diminished or impaired.”
Pushing it to the crisis point....and beyond.