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Report: Emanuel wants property tax hike, but he wants the state to do it

Thursday, Jan 30, 2014

* Sun-Times

Last Friday, the mayor held a 2.5-hour meeting with the Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, both Chicago Democrats, to outline the magnitude of the problem and propose solutions.

Emanuel wants the General Assembly to impose annual property tax increases on Chicago homeowners and businesses, but put off the balloon payment to shore up police and fire pensions until 2023 to make the bitter pill easier to swallow.

He wants a General Assembly that has already solved the Chicago Park District’s pension problems to use that plan as a road map for other city unions.

And he wants lawmakers to impose the same pension reforms on Chicago teachers that they did on teachers in the suburbs and Downstate.

Emanuel wants the General Assembly to hike property taxes so he can avoid direct responsibility? That’s rich.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - OneMan - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 10:30 am:

    Never hurts to ask….

  2. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    Four Tops can’t see the value in an Election Year …

    Mushrooms won’t do it in an Election Year.

  3. - walker - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    Of course he does.

    Most local politicians, including school boards, complain all day long about runaway state spending, but when the going gets rough, they hand the reins to Springfield.

  4. - Upon Further Review - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 10:35 am:

    No matter how much you give the politicians, it is never enough.

  5. - Union Man - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 10:35 am:

    Same old smoke and mirrors. Pass the buck!! Grow a set RE!!!

  6. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    Now that’s leadership, right there.

  7. - Upon Further Review - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    Maybe if Rahm had persuaded Mike Madigan to stop handling property tax appeals for two years, Chicago could recover the funds need to replenish its pension coffers. An idle day dream, but it does make you wonder sometimes.

  8. - Todd - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    And the repubs get what out of this?

    And the downstate guys get what out of this?

  9. - Cook County Commoner - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    Interesting tactic. Maybe he should tie it in with repeal of residency requirements for city workers. Love to have those paychecks in my area.

  10. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    ===And the repubs get what out of this?

    And the downstate guys get what out of this?===

    Lol, you want your property taxes raised too? The better question is what do Madigan and Culleron get out of this?

  11. - F.T. - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    If the General Assembly wants to throw this back in Rahm’s face, they could just pass a law shifting pension rule-making authority from Springfield to City Hall for the Chicago funds. The city has home rule authority and City Hall makes the employer payments — not the state. The mayor would have to cut deals with the aldermen in order to entice them to vote to roll back their constituents’ and their own pension benefits. That might be fun to watch.

    And, by the way, mandatory increases in the city’s contributions to the teacher, police, and fire pension systems are already built into state law. Those balloon payments (funded by Chicago property taxes) are scheduled to kick in over the next two years. The General Assembly could choose to do nothing on Chicago pensions this year and the property tax ax will still fall, right as Rahm is running for re-election.

  12. - From the 'Dale to HP - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    Rahm’s mistake was not raising property taxes in 2012. I guess he was too busy baiting the CTU into a strike and pissing off the rest of the public unions in the City to you know, get something done. Anyway, now he’s between a rock and a hard place with only a $5m war chest to scare everyone off with. Still shocked no one has the guts to take him on…

    And yes, I guess it never hurts to ask, but it also shows a complete lack of leadership (HT to One Man and Formerly Known As…)

  13. - Jim'e' - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    Rahm is asking the right people; afterall, who approved the legislation that gave Chicago workers their benefits? Not the City Council.

  14. - Not Rich - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Really? He wants the likes of Dwight Kay, Jack Franks, and Bill Brady etc to cast a vote to raise property taxes o bail out Chicago??? Talk about a mayoral legacy falling down quickly.. I guess he spent way too much time in DC and with his friend Barry O. The idea of just ripping the Chicago pension systems out of the statute books and FedExing them to Rahm in Chicago, and saying here you go is looking real good.. Maybe his Rahmness should have a worked a little harder for that casino in his first year than begging for speed camera revenue. Thank God Chicagoans have him on the 5th floor “doing things for the children of Chicago”

  15. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    Is it me or is the Mayor kicking the can down the road? Then if the Mayor gets his way who is to say that he will not come up with another idea of how to not pay into the pension in 2023? The Mayor only wants to break the system.

  16. - Chris - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    “Lol, you want your property taxes raised too? The better question is what do Madigan and Culleron get out of this?”

    Besides 47 and me, who else commenting in this thread is going to have to pay a *dime* of this tax increase?

    Also: The line right before Rich’s block quote:

    “[Making the state-mandated pension balloon payment] will require a painful mix of new revenues and employee concessions that only the General Assembly can mandate.”

    So, unless that is patently false, RE *must* discuss it with the State. And, at least as reported thus far, he hasn’t asked the state to pony up any $$, just modify the terms on which Chicago has to find the $$.

  17. - dupage dan - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 1:26 pm:

    It looks like Daley did more damage to Chicago than earlier thought. The city pension fund is apparently leaps and bounds worse than any other municipal pension in other comparable cities. Revenue sources were sold off. The tax base is shrinking. This isn’t on Emanuel - he’s just trying to keep the municipal mutton chops above water until he can reach a higher office and be done with it.

    I read a piece where someone had suggested homesteading empty swaths of Detroit in an effort to get those non-revenue producings properties back on the tax rolls. I kinda liked the maverick idea. Grab a piece of property - prove you have improved it within the established time period (along with suspending many regulations along the way) show that you can turn a profit and you get to keep the property. Taxes suspended for a fixed period and then reap the benefits down the line. Worked for Oklahoma, didn’t it?

  18. - crazybleedingheart - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    My dimes are in the game, and I’ll tell you what - it looks to me like Emanuel might be…gasp…a fairly inept politician. Maybe he wasn’t always, but these days he seems positively hamstrung by not knowing what he doesn’t know.

    First responder pensions during an election year! Good one, Rahm! It’s enough to make one suspect he didn’t spend a lot of time understanding basic state politics before pounding the federal pavement.

    Oh, right.

    I’ve never belonged to a union, but I’ve never cheered for them so hard in my life as during these halcyon days of the Emanuel Administration, may it rest in peace.

  19. - crazybleedingheart - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    PS: wow, everything looks so different from DuPage!

    Ask a Native American.

  20. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    Emanuel is a money guy. He’s a great fundraiser.

    That’s it.

  21. - lakecounty - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 2:38 pm:

    Speaking of pension reform, gasp, they call it like it is, pension cuts, in this Tribune article:,0,4090828.story

  22. - fed up - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 3:08 pm:

    might not need to raise property taxes if we wernt wasting TIF Monies(property Taxes) on Maggie Daley Park 55+million, median planters 100s millions, Depaul arena, Block 37, the waste to connected developers and builders is astounding. use property taxes for thier lawful pupose instead of developer givaways.

  23. - F.T. - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    - Jim ‘e’ -

    “…afterall, who approved the legislation that gave Chicago workers their benefits?”

    That’s exactly the main problem here. Chicago pension benefits are set in Springfield by lawmakers who don’t have to pay for them and who, for the most part, don’t represent the taxpayers who get stuck with the bill. It’s like TRS in reverse. Instead of local school boards cutting pension deals and sending the bill to the General Assembly, with Chicago pensions the General Assembly cuts the deal and sends the bill to the local property owners. Neither practice represents sound fiscal policy.

  24. - Hans Sanity - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 3:50 pm:


    What Would Ukranians Do?

    Not suggesting or instigating.

    Just wondering.

  25. - Rod - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 4:46 pm:

    Of course those of us in Chicago need to have a property tax rate increase beyond the cap. We have all seen the rate comparisons with suburban towns in Cook County. But by the very fact that this meeting was leaked to the media means either the Speaker, the Senate President, or an authorized staffer leaked it to kill the idea.

    Emanuel apparently wants the General Assembly to order the tax increase to protect himself for the backlash, but why in the world would he think the members of the GA would want to do that?

    Here is my guess, Emanuel simply wants way to big of savings to stabilize Chicago’s and the school district’s fiscal situation for it to realistically pass the GA. So he comes up with the property tax idea to generate the savings his number crunchers say they need to survive.

  26. - Juvenal - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 5:44 pm:

    Quinn won’t sign it, period.

  27. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Jan 30, 14 @ 9:59 pm:

    And why would Quinn sign it even if the legislative long-shot happened? What’s in it for him? Rahm’ support? Whoopie?

    If I were any of the big guns under the Dome, I wouldn’t lift a finger, so to speak, to help Rahm out of this mess that was not “created in Springfield.”

    Study the 15-20 year funding, investments, and operations of the CTPF and then come back and talk about the source of their problems.

  28. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 31, 14 @ 12:43 am:

    Did I not predict some kind of Chicago bailout request as soon as the ink was dry on the State level pension “reform” bill? Just took a little different form that I expected …

    It’s always great to be able to stab your taxpayers in the back and have someone else get the blame for it.

  29. - 32nd Ward Roscoe Village - Friday, Jan 31, 14 @ 1:24 pm:

    I have skin in this game. In the 22 years of owning my home my real estate taxes have already gone up 1,000%. I helped improve my neighborhood so now it is Tier IV for selective enrollment high school purposes, so my sons are shut out of those school options (I don’t have Rauner-caliber clout). I am just tired of it.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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