Governor reduces retirement benefits for Chicago employees

Jun 9, 2014

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed a bill that reduces the retirement benefits of some City of Chicago employees. But the governor’s signature comes with some advice for Chicago’s mayor. IPR's  Tony Arnold explains.

Quinn signed the controversial pension bill in private.  But he released a statement saying he was quote - “dismayed by the ill-advised attempt” to have lawmakers impose a tax increase on Chicago residents.

An earlier version of the bill called on Chicago’s city council to raise property taxes, but that was removed from the final version.  That language came from Mayor Rahm Emanuel who had advocated for raising property taxes to fund the pension systems.

The bill calls for retirement benefit changes for more than 50-thousand City of Chicago workers and laborers.  Those reductions were needed in part since the city underfunded the pensions for decades - and they’re scheduled to run out of money within 15 years.

Bruce Rauner, Quinn’s Republican opponent in the November election, opposed the pension changes because of Emanuel’s call for increased property taxes.