Rahm Bests Rauner on Pensions
- Just days after Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Gov. Bruce Rauner told Chicago taxpayers to “take a hike,” Democrats delivered the same message to the governor.
In a stunning move, the Illinois House on Monday voted 72-43 to override Rauner’s veto of the Chicago police and fire pension bill that had sparked a war of words between the Republican governor and Emanuel. The action came just hours after the Illinois Senate voted 39-19 to override the bill. It will now become law.
The final cost to taxpayers is still cloudy:
- The bill passed in the House with the help of two Republicans who changed their votes from last year, an exceptionally unusual move in the often politically bitter Springfield political environment: Rep. David Harris, from Arlington Heights, and Rep. David McSweeney, Barrington Hills.
On the House floor, Harris gave Emanuel credit for initiating a $500 million tax increase to pay pensions for the city’s police and firefighters.
“The city is down right now. It’s taking its lumps . . . I don’t like to kick someone when they’re down,” Harris said. “I recognize that the idea of stretching out these payments is not good public policy. It isn’t.
[...] After the override, Rauner released a statement, saying: “It’s unfortunate that the legislature voted again to allow the City of Chicago to borrow $843 million at an interest rate of 7.75% from their pensions, putting 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. 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.”
A lot of this is political smokescreens to conceal the true cost of adding decades to bring the pensions up to being properly funded (and we highly doubt this was, or is, intended)
- Yes, the can is being kicked down the road;
- Yes, it would be better to have the funding now, especially as the huge waves of retirees leaving the job right now are living longer and longer;
- Yes, Rahm is going to steal every dime he can "defer" and spend it on politically expedient projects he can slap his name or any significant political contributors' names on;
- No, Rahm and Madigan aren't going to cut a dime from the budget, even while adding billions more to the increasing debt
These goofs don't seem to notice the shrinking tax base and the impossibility of maintaining the charade much longer.