* Not really. My headline is merely a bit of snark based on a May 29th Tribune editorial about the Chicago pension reform bill entitled “Quinn to city: Drop dead”…
Quinn, the self-described I-was-put-on-Earth-to-get-this-done pension reformer, should have signed the bill seven weeks ago. Instead, he’s been playing the role of fictional superhero, claiming to be protecting Chicago property taxpayers by sitting on the bill.
“I’m committed to property tax reform and property tax relief,” Quinn said recently of the bill on his desk. “We’re going to look at the bill and we’ll review it.”
But if Quinn vetoes the bill, and it appears he might, that action would come at the expense of Chicago taxpayers, not at their benefit. […]
The clock is running. Sign the bill. Quit fretting about the impact on your re-election chances. Let Chicago help itself.
Stop telling this City to Drop Dead.
If Quinn had listened to the Tribune and signed the city’s pension bill in April, would Mayor Rahm Emanuel have switched gears and passed a 911 service tax hike to cover the pension reform’s first-year costs? Heck no.
Politics 101: Never take political advice from editorial boards.
* Speaking of which, this is from a Sun-Times editorial last week urging Quinn to sign the bill…
Quinn’s Republican opponent in the race for governor, Bruce Rauner, opposes the pension bill and likely will blame Quinn if Chicago property taxes rise. Quinn easily can swat away such a disingenuous claim.
Um, no, it won’t be easy. At all. This was a big risk by Quinn.
* But let’s get back to the Tribune. Here is part of Rauner’s statement from yesterday…
Despite pledging to lower property taxes for homeowners, Gov. Quinn broke yet another promise by signing the Chicago pension bill into law, thereby forcing City Hall to raise property taxes on hardworking Chicagoans. Even if the city diverted $50 million in new 911 emergency phone tax revenue to pay for the pension bill, City Hall would still face a massive shortfall over the five-year phase-in, paving the way for a massive property tax hike.
Without that pension reform bill, the property tax hikes would’ve been much, much larger and Rauner knows it.
* Today’s Tribune editorial only briefly mentioned Rauner…
Sure enough, it took only minutes for his Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner to issue a statement accusing Quinn of “forcing City Hall to raise property taxes on hardworking Chicagoans.”
Quinn did nothing of the sort. As he pointed out in his signing statement, the original bill would have mandated a property increase. Quinn and others objected loudly, and that provision was scrapped.
What? No hyperbolic insanity about how Rauner wants to ruin Chicago? Funny how that page can be so reserved when it comes to their guy and so way, WAY over the top when it comes to Quinn.
* Mayor Emanuel wasn’t so reserved yesterday…
“Bruce Rauner needs to learn that there is a difference between running for office and actually serving. The economic future of the state’s largest city and the retirement of 60,000 workers is not a political football to be tossed around. Governor Quinn today stood up for Chicago. Bruce Rauner has merely confirmed his unwillingness to do so.”
* Anyway, despite the dismissiveness by the Trib, property taxes are gonna rise eventually. There’s just no way around it. Mark Brown…
There should be no doubt: This legislation is going to lead to a tax increase in Chicago, probably including property taxes, just maybe not this year if aldermen get their say in postponing it.
Emanuel’s plan would pay an additional $250 million a year in city revenue into these two pension funds by the fifth year—which adds up to an extra $750 million total over that period. That’s not chump change, and it has to come from somewhere. […]
In his own statement, Emanuel promised to “work with City Council in the coming months to find alternative options to replace property taxes as the source of the City’s first pension payment.”
Please note he said “first” pension payment. After that, all bets are off, including whether Emanuel will still be mayor when it comes time to identify the source of the second pension payment.