Gov. to act on legislation cutting retirement benefits for Chicago employees

Jun 9, 2014

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is expected to take action Monday on a bill that cuts the retirement benefits of thousands of City of Chicago employees, and could lead to higher property taxes.

Chicago’s underfunded its pensions for decades. The proposal sitting on Quinn’s desk would get rid of compounded raises city employees get in retirement, among other benefit changes.

But the bill puts Governor Quinn in a tough spot. Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants Quinn to sign it, but has said the city council might have to raise property taxes to pay for it. Quinn’s been critical of cities relying too much on property taxes, and doesn’t want to wear the jacket for Chicago residents who see their taxes go up.

Laurence Msall, with the financial watchdog Civic Federation, says the proposal would help Chicago’s troubled finances.

"It’s a delicate balance that you don’t overtax people, but it’s also a delicate balance that you don’t drive the city into bankruptcy or insolvency."

Last week, Quinn signed into law a bill that raises the cell phone fees in Chicago which could be used to avert a tax increase.