* As you all know by now, there was no progress yesterday on Rahm Emanuel’s pension reform proposal…
The rapid rollout strategy was aimed at giving legislators little time to get cold feet and blunting labor union lobbying against the changes. But several Chicago lawmakers raised concerns, Democrats blamed Republicans for not getting on board, and the blitzkrieg approach failed — at least for a day. […]
Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said the speaker was “still working the roll call” and was trying to achieve bipartisan support for the bill. But many Republicans remained critical, including Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, who mocked Raoul’s explanation that the bill was fast-tracked because Chicago was in the midst of a crisis.
“This state is always in a crisis,” Radogno said. “When will it end?”
Not only did a vote sputter in the House, but the Senate wasn’t embracing the pension plan either. […]
Democratic Rep. LaShawn Ford said African-American lawmakers were split on the pension bill, adding that he opposed it because his West Side community had “already paid the cost to the city” with closed public schools.
* This is part of what really went down…
Madigan’s legislation would authorize the City Council to levy $50 million more during each of five years, starting in 2016, to devote toward city pension costs. By year five, that tax levy would stand at $250 million more than today, but Republicans added up all of the revenue collected during that period and dubbed Emanuel’s handiwork as a $750 million property-tax increase that they wanted no part of.
“A $750 million property tax-increase is the last thing we need in Illinois,” said Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, who voted against Madigan’s legislation in committee. “This is outrageous. This is going to kill jobs. I oppose this tax increase.”
During committee, Madigan said he was prepared to amend his legislation to soften the property-tax mandate on the City Council by making it merely an option, not compulsory. That amendment wound up being tacked onto his bill Wednesday afternoon.
The original legislation, crafted by the mayor, ordered the city council to pass the tax hike. No way, man. No way.
One House Democrat from the city told Early & Often that no one had formally reached out from the mayor’s staff to make a personal pitch for the bill, an oddity given the magnitude of what Emanuel is asking state lawmakers to do on his behalf in Springfield, particularly if Republicans are MIA on the bill. […]
When it became clear the big lift to pass the bill wouldn’t be shared with Republicans, rank-and-file city Democrats appeared to get cold feet with the property-tax component. Others privately expressed worry about opposition to the bill from the Chicago Teachers Union, which last month nearly unseated state Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, in a bitter primary in which his December support for a state pension package became a central issue.