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Rahm’s self-made rough road

Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014

* Gov. Pat Quinn isn’t at all pleased with the way Mayor Rahm Emanuel handled the pension reform bill

Quinn chided Emanuel Tuesday for not consulting with him before proposing the pension reform plan, which would have hiked Chicago property taxes.

And he said the mayor and his allies apparently “got the message” about his concerns.

“I learned about this kind of after the fact,” Quinn said of the original proposal. “I think collaboration is always a good way to go in life – whether in politics, government or getting along with people. It’s always good to touch base with as many people as you can.”

* And that silly idea last week to insert language into the bill requiring the Chicago City Council to raise property taxes is still a very big problem

Even though Madigan moved Monday to remove language authorizing the City Council to impose that property-tax hike, some Republicans still voiced worries that the legislation being voted on amounted to a huge new property-tax burden on city taxpayers.

“Let’s not kid anybody. What we’re talking about today is a massive property-tax increase,” said Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills. “This is not a comprehensive solution.” […]

The legislation is deeply steeped in the gubernatorial campaign, where Republican Bruce Rauner shares McSweeney’s stance and has called for the legislation to move city employees into a 401(k)-style retirement program and eliminate future pension benefits.

* And why did the mayor even bother putting this thing in?

Removed from the bill Tuesday was a provision some unions balked at that would have dissolved the municipal and laborers funds and replaced them “as provided by the General Assembly” with recommendations made by the city.

Madigan Spokesman Steve Brown said that provision was added “because the mayor’s office thought that was a component.” The Emanuel administration had no comment.

Keep in mind that Madigan didn’t write the bill or the amendments. Rahm did. This is on him.

* OK, so he passed the bill anyway. But this was the “easy” one. Teachers, coppers and, most importantly, firefighters are next on the list. They will be far more difficult to negotiate with and/or steamroll. He can’t keep making these easily avoidable mistakes. He has to start including more people in his discussion, including the governor and the minority leaders.

The General Assembly ain’t the city council.

* Roundup…

* CTU chief hits pension bill as ‘theft,’ calls for Quinn veto

* Illinois Legislature Passes Emanuel’s Pension Bill

* Mayor Emanuel’s pension fix passes Illinois House and Senate (with rollcalls)

* Chicago pension overhaul OK’d by House, Senate

* House, Senate pass Rahm’s pension bill — now it’s up to Quinn

* Pension reform bill passes Springfield with some GOP support: During debate, House Republican leader Jim Durkin was statesmanlike. “I want to make sure that we do the best we can to ensure that the City of Chicago will be vibrant, that it will be a place where we will feel safe and secure about sending out children, encouraging our international friends and our friends from out of the state to come visit, spend your money in the City of Chicago,” Durkin said. “Everyone in this chamber, we spend time in the City of Chicago. They’ve got a hospitality industry that is better than anywhere else in the United States. It’s a jewel. But I don’t want to see the City of Chicago fall in line with Detroit.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - fed up - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:44 am:

    Whats most interesting in the Pension bills is the language that allows Rahm to remove the pension board even the members that are voted into their position by the pension members. Giving Rahm the ability to turn the pension boards into litle rubber stamps like the city council is a legislative abuse. Making these boards beholden to Rahm and not the members is a big deal. SEIU hasnt realized Rahm has them in checkmate and they think they are looking at a checkers board

  2. - Chris - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    ” the legislation being voted on amounted to a huge new property-tax burden on city taxpayers”

    Dummies. The *pension debt* is a “huge tax burden on city taxpayers”. If these suburban republicans are so worried about Chicago property taxes, they should propose (not that I think its a good idea) a constitutional amendment that allows Chicago to shirk its pension obligations.

    What do they think will pay for the Chicago pension debt? Fairy dust? “Elimination of waste”? NO, morons, it’s an increase on the taxes paid by Chicagoans. DUH!

  3. - olok1973 - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    General Assembly may not be the City Council, but at least Rahm has the stones to actually put the measure up to a vote in an election year. So Quinn assumes he still pull this election out without the active support of Rahm? Somebody needs to remind Quinn that he serves at the discretion of Madigan/Cullerton/Emanual. He needs every vote he can squeeze out of Chi Town to win. It only takes some unofficial don’t push your people to get out the vote to throw the election to Rauner.

  4. - Chris - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:50 am:

    “SEIU hasnt realized Rahm has them in checkmate and they think they are looking at a checkers board”

    Rahm may have threatened to fire them all and replace them with private contractors. YES, that sounds crazy, especially with an election not far off, and his already slipping support among A-As, but (1) that would make them more likely to take an otherwise bad deal, and (2) Rahm saying it would make it a credible threat. He can’t make the same threat to cops and fire, and the charter school expansion is read that way by CTU, already.

  5. - Chris - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    “He needs every vote he can squeeze out of Chi Town to win”

    He’s lost me. And every stupid thing he says about Chicago pushes me closer to holding my nose and voting *for* Rauner.

  6. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    Yesterday, I gave Rahm a hard time for not even picking up the phone. He clearly bungled this.

    Today, I would urge the good governor not to get too carried away with himself when publicly chiding Rahm. Everyone has good moments and bad.

  7. - Stones - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    Funny how PQ is now all about “collaboration” when for years he was the guy on the outside throwing the stones at the establishment.

  8. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    Rich I value and respect your sense of Springfield, about which I neither know nor care to know much at all.

    That being said, last week it was the bill is nigh-doomed because Emanuel didn’t pay any attention to the special snowflakes in the GA. Now, ‘OK, so he passed the bill anyway. But this was the “easy” one.’

    You certainly have a point but I sometimes feel the “Springfield isn’t X” story is driven by the inflated self-assessment of GA members.

  9. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    Quinn has a Clear and Present danger in the form of an opponent to consider as an alternative. Rahm is dealing with giants like Fioretti calling him on the carpet. Who do you think feels more threatened? Lost in all this was MJM’s willingness and even help in allowing Rahm to stumble so badly and publicly. No accident there. The King needs to keep all the princes in line.

  10. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    The Sun-Times article points out the hypocrisy of Quinn. Quinn would rather focus on his proposed $500 property tax rebate, a mere gimmick designed to sway swing voters and which will result in digging the state even deeper into debt. It is telling that he is in full peacock mode with this gimmick yet in full ostrich mode with pension reform.

  11. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    Quinn is the governor of Chicago and he got surprised by the mayor of Chicago who isn’t running for reelection against an opponent who is reaching into Chicago for political support. Quinn doesn’t need surprises within his only Illinois base of support, and Rahm doesn’t care if Quinn is surprised.

    As a matter of fact, Rahm is one of the few people who have an inkling what a Governor Rauner would be like on a personal level and on a business level.

    Bottom line - Quinn has been ignored by all the major political players in Illinois and it seems that these political players are perfectly comfortable with the prospect of a different governor next year. Consequently, these folks, including the Mayor aren’t going to let Governor Quinn’s political campaign keep them from working on possible fiscal solutions for the City or for Illinois.

    But - Quinn had been cut out of these discussions before, so why is this really news?

    If Quinn wants to make his political inconsequence an issue - that isn’t a winner for him. Rahm can pick up one cell phone and shut down blabby Pat permanently.

  12. - Statesman - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    Classic Check-mate. ILGA works with Rahm to deflect and push the blame onto Quinn. If he vetoes the bill - he’s cooked in November; if he approves the bill- he’s cooked in November. Check Mate Mr. Governor! That blinking light in the corner of your eye is your career dissipation light.

  13. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 8:19 pm:


    Politics of the GA are much more complex. Partisanship, parochialism, and a lot more moving parts.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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