Illinois Faces Pension Crisis

By Bill Cameron, John Dempsey and Jen DeSalvo, WLS-AM News
(CHICAGO) It started the beginning of the year when the Illinois State Supreme Court struck down a state law that tried to cut benefits for some Chicago city workers.

The court ruled that a 2014 law Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed through the legislature is unconstitutional because it diminishes the value of the worker’s retirement benefits, which is forbidden by state law.

The law that was struck down at the end of March and affected about 61,000 current and retired workers.

The city’s Police and Fire pension funds also faced multi-billion dollar deficits due to years of underfunding by Chicago Aldermen and former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

That ruling was speculated to pave the way for another massive Chicago property tax increase.

By August, after Rahm already tacked a new garbage fee onto water & sewer bills, he then wanted to tack on another 7% a year for the next four years.

“I don’t take lightly what we’ve asked of the residents of the city,” Emanual explained. “That’s why, unlike police and fire and labors and municipal pension funds, I wanted to make sure we didn’t do property taxes.”

Then in October, S&P Global Ratings dropped the state’s credit rating one notch — from BBB+ to BBB

“This report underscores Illinois’ need for tangible pension reform after career politicians deliberately underfunded the system for decades. It’s time for the supermajority in the legislature to recognize the current pension system is fatally flawed and requires immediate action,” Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said in a statement. “Governor Rauner continues to fight for pension reform and other fundamental, structural reforms that will free up resources to help balance the budget.”