Spiraling out of control
Sunday, May 29, 2016 - Posted by Rich Miller
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday lashed out at Gov. Bruce Rauner for vetoing a measure aimed at providing city police and fire pension relief, accusing his onetime vacation pal of telling “every Chicago taxpayer to take a hike.” […]
Over the short term, the bill would have reduced how much taxpayers contribute to the retirement funds by hundreds of millions of dollars a year. But that delay would come at a cost of billions of dollars over the long haul. By paying less upfront, the city would see its pension debt continue to grow. […]
“This bill continues the irresponsible practice of deferring well into the future funding decisions necessary to ensure pension fund solvency,” Rauner wrote in his veto message to lawmakers. “The cost to Chicago taxpayers of kicking this can down the road is truly staggering.”
* More from Rauner’s office, which noted that the bill did not pass the House with a veto-proof majority…
“This legislation forces Chicago to borrow against police and fire fighters’ pensions to the tune of $18.6 billion. Absent reforms, this will simply balloon liabilities and ultimately crush taxpayers, which even the Retired Chicago Police Association opposes. This is the same reckless policy that led the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois to financial crisis. Chicago needs wholesale structural reform to solve its problems — borrowing billions against taxpayers is not the solution.”
Top mayoral aides were livid. They likened it to a “declaration of war” on Chicago and Emanuel, akin to President Gerald Ford flatly declaring in 1975 that he would veto any bill calling for “a federal bail-out of New York City” and instead proposing legislation that would make it easier for the city to go into bankruptcy.
Rauner had until Monday to sign or veto the bill. If he had done nothing, the legislation would have automatically taken effect and saved Chicago $220 million this year and $843 million over five years. […]
“You have a governor who said he was for a property tax freeze, who is now, through a veto, gonna force a property tax increase. You have a governor who put this in his own pension proposal and now, he’s vetoing it. You have a governor who said he’s for local control, and the first bill on his desk that reflects local control, he vetoes it. And you wonder why people don’t trust him,” Emanuel said.
“Part of being a leader is people being able to work with you and trust you . . . There’s a reason nobody trusts you. It’s because there’s constant inconsistency. And it’s not an accident that nothing’s getting done in Springfield under his tenure.” […]
“Chicago taxpayers are not a pawn in your failed agenda . . . So far, everything is about hostage-taking. Maybe to break the logjam, the governor should say, ‘I’ll make the first move of good will to anybody anywhere and the good will be to Chicago taxpayers, to Chicago Police and Fire.’ But he hasn’t decided to do that,” he said.
* The war of words continued on Twitter. The Prince of Snarkness was fully unleashed…