Rahm Reacts to Rauner’s Pension Proposal

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On Thursday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reacted to Bruce Rauner’s pension overhaul proposal.

Emanuel made it clear that he supported parts of the plan (benefit cuts for workers), but not others (allowing municipalities to file for bankruptcy as a way to shed pension liabilities).

From the Sun-Times:

“The governor now is in favor of the police and fire pension [reforms]. That is a good thing. The governor is now in favor, publicly, of a Chicago-based casino to pay a portion of police and fire pensions,” Emanuel said.

“The governor is now in favor of things we have talked about for decades about equity on teachers’ pensions so students and teachers in Downstate and suburbs are not treated better than teachers and students here in Chicago. He’s supportive of some of the things we’ve proposed for Chicago Public Schools … and also the notion that the rest of the state has a role to play in creating fairness and equity across the system where Chicago taxpayers are not responsible for paying for everybody else’s teachers pension and our pensions.”

[…]

But the mayor once again made it clear that he considers bankruptcy a last — not first — resort.

“It’s the wrong thing to do. … I would oppose that. … What is driving the financial strain … is a series of political decisions that have been made over the years. That’s what you need to fix rather than go to a judge to address your bad politics and bad choices,” the mayor said.

Emanuel’s lengthy remarks served a political purpose: he now has Rauner on record as supporting large swaths of the city’s pension reform “wish-list”, including building a casino to pay down police and fire pension debt.

 

Photo by Pete Souza via Flickr CC License

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