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First time for everything: Rauner veto overridden in House

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

* More on yesterday’s veto override by the AP

Chicago taxpayers will save $1 billion on police and fire pension costs in the short term under a law the General Assembly approved Monday after some House Republicans bucked their governor, who had railed against it as a ridiculous expansion of the Illinois’ growing pension hole.

The House voted 72-43 to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the savings plan, which trumps state law that required the city to pump $4.62 billion into retirement accounts for police officers and firefighters through 2020.

The huge payments could have forced a $300 million property tax increase, Mayor Rahm Emanuel had warned. But Rauner countered that shorting payments will cost an extra $18.6 billion in interest during the next 40 years.

The House quickly followed the Senate in reversing the first-term governor, a businessman who has pounced on the issue of Illinois’ woeful pension funding — in municipal as well as state accounts — since he was a candidate.

* Tribune

“I very respectfully disagreed with (Rauner),” said [GOP Rep. David Harris], who voted “present” on the bill last year. “I understand his logic in terms of saying that it’s kicking the can down the road, and it does stretch out the payments, absolutely. But at the same time, I believe the mayor has taken some really significant actions to try to address the problem.”

Harris said he notified House Republican leadership of his plans to override Rauner but emphasized his action was “totally separate and distinct” from the governor’s agenda, focused on pro-business changes and altering collective bargaining and workers’ compensation rules.

McSweeney said he voted for the override to prevent a tax hike in Chicago. “I looked at it and I’m not voting for a property tax increase. I never have, never will,” he said.

But opponents sought to play the regionalism card in arguing Chicago was seeking a special deal.

* Sun-Times

Shortly after the veto, House Speaker Madigan and Cullerton walked to Rauner’s office for a leaders meeting. After the meeting, Madigan told reporters he thought it was “interesting” the governor “had nothing to stay about the override.”

“I was raised not to cause embarrassment for people so I didn’t raise it,” Madigan said.

* Politico

Emanuel plans a news briefing this morning at City Hall where he’ll discuss “bipartisan” support for the pension funding bill. He’s expected to again unleash on Rauner.

* Gov. Rauner…

“It’s unfortunate that the legislature voted again to allow the City of Chicago to borrow $843 million at an interest rate of 7.75% from their pensions, putting an additional $18.6 billion on the backs of taxpayers. Clearly, those who supported this measure haven’t recognized what happens when governments fail to promptly fund pension obligations. Instead of kicking the can down the road, local and state governments should instead focus on reforms that will grow our economy, create jobs and enable us live up to the promises we’ve made to police and firefighters.”

* Mayor Emanuel…

“On Memorial Day I particularly want to thank‎ the Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly for putting politics aside‎ and doing the right thing for Chicago taxpayers, and for our first responders. We in the city agreed to step up and finally do our part to and responsibly fund these pensions, and I want to thank Springfield for doing their part as well. I also want to thank all our partners in labor, business groups and everyone else who stood up in support of this bill. I particularly want to thank Senate President Cullerton and Speaker Madigan for their leadership on behalf of the entire city. While for the first time in history our police and fire pensions will be funded appropriately, I will not rest until and Municipal and Laborers pensions are fully secured as well.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


41 Comments
  1. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:06 am:

    Is this a one-off or is the damn starting to burst. Lots of pressure back there for some action by worried downstate Rs.


  2. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:09 am:

    The worst part about this bill is that it is a true lose-lose situation where you can save money up front for huge amounts on the back end or you can pay now but you can’t afford it. In the end, this was probably the least worst decision out of two horribly bad options.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:14 am:

    It’s a stand-alone.

    There is no revolt, there is no call to leave Rauner, there is no posturing to put Rauner in notice that this is a beginning.

    It’s huge that it’s a “first”, it’s small, almost non-existent, in the “revolt” side of any ledger.

    ===“I was raised not to cause embarrassment for people so I didn’t raise it,” Madigan said.===

    It’s “fun”, sure, but is it helping? Probably not, but it was “fun”… Ugh.


  4. - Anon221 - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:16 am:

    Will there be a flurry of last minute filings today as retribution???

    https://www.elections.il.gov/CalendarEventsPage.aspx?Date=5/31/2016


  5. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:17 am:

    Repeating from other thread

    While this bill really doesn’t help the retirement funds in terms of their levels, it does start to address the immediate cash flow problems of Chicago. It shows an acknowledgment of the problem and a bit of willingness to start to address the issue. Nothing for the bond houses to cheer about, but at least they can stop jeering for a few minutes.

    The bigger picture is the House finally managed to override a veto with some R votes. So there is hope the House could move on other issues.


  6. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:20 am:

    “I was raised not to cause embarrassment….” Which begs the question, based on Madigans personality, ‘Then what WAS he raised to cause..’?


  7. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:21 am:

    This will help take some fiscal pressure off of Chicago, so it’s good for the time being.

    The alternative could have been to pass pension relief while stripping bargaining rights and prevailing wage. This would be unacceptable even to Emanuel.


  8. - DuPage - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:22 am:

    One hostage rescue mission has succeeded. There are so many hostages, though, this is just the first drop in a large bucket.


  9. - Dome Gnome - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:23 am:

    It’s already not a stand-alone, if you couple this little mutiny with the results of the primary proxy wars. The governor’s party barge is springing leaks.


  10. - burbanite - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:25 am:

    The interest rate was driven up by the Governor. We didn’t forget what you did Governor, when you purposefully drove up the cost of credit for Chicago.


  11. - SKI - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:26 am:

    So Rahm got his pension bill passed, now what? Will Rahm pull a Daly and kick the can down the road for the next major to deal with it or will he continue to try to identify long term solutions.


  12. - Federalist - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:28 am:

    On this one Rauner is right.

    Chicago will spend the money now, the pension situation will get worse down the road, and the city will be in worse shape and want a state bailout in some form. That is the horror film coming to you in the future.


  13. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:31 am:

    == So Rahm got his pension bill passed, now what? ==

    It only fixes a small part of his pension problems, let alone other issues. Rahm will have to deal with all that also, and the sum total is to big to just kick down the road. Will have to be more Chicago tax increases.


  14. - Norseman - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:35 am:

    - This was an ego bruise for Bruce.

    - Will he have Goldberg check to see if this is one of those mandatory votes for GOP guys for which noncompliance will result in “f’n” problems? /s

    - The Madigan veto override statement certainly amused almost all under the dome.


  15. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:36 am:

    ==it does start to address the immediate cash flow problems of Chicago==

    Bingo. It feels like kicking the can a bit, when it seemed there was little room left for can-kicking.

    As for the dam, @Oswego Willy nails it. This is a one-off by individuals with a difference of opinion on this issue. 2 votes on a pension override vs 7 votes on a budget, and so on.


  16. - JS Mill - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:38 am:

    Funny, not a single word in the Raunergraph, ….errr Pantagraph.

    I doubt this is a sign of a serious change in heart for GOP members. I would be more heartened if it was a sign by both GOP and IDP rank and file members that tehy were going to start voting their districts and not at the direction of their leaders.


  17. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:40 am:

    –Instead of kicking the can down the road, local and state governments should instead focus on reforms that will grow our economy, create jobs and enable us live up to the promises we’ve made to police and firefighters.”–

    “Kicking the can down the road” is a bad thing, says the governor, as the state nears the completion of the first year, ever, without a state budget.

    FWIW, the state has resumed shorting pension contributions this fiscal year, as well.

    But I would like to hear more details about those government-central-command initiatives that “grow the economy” and “create jobs.”

    Who would be against those, if you could sell it with facts and data?


  18. - an independent - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:44 am:

    The trickle will become, if not a torrent, a wellspring. Harris might not have been cheered, but the important thing is that he wasn’t jeered. This is the Illinois equivalent of Profiles in Courage. Common sense is about to prevail. My guess is Madigan will seize the moment and stand by his “I wasn’t raised to embarrass people.” We will see progress, not capitulation, and thank you Mr. Harris.


  19. - Cook County Commoner - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:44 am:

    The critical language in the AP piece: “Chicago taxpayers will save … in the short term …”

    The “short term” thinking seems to be what got Chicago, Cook County and Illinois into the bind they are in. And the “short term” appears to be getting shorter and shorter.

    Isn’t this how the mortgage market collapsed? Everyone watched the bankruptcy and foreclosure rates increase steadily? Folks were warning about the liar loans and no credit mortgages but were dismissed because they couldn’t forecast the precise nature and time of meltdown. Then boom.


  20. - A guy - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:47 am:

    ===“I was raised not to cause embarrassment for people so I didn’t raise it,” Madigan said.===

    And yet, afterwards, you did, didn’t you? There’s something more than a little off with the Speaker this session. We’re used to caustic retellings and remarks.

    The eye poke? That’s for stooges.


  21. - jim - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:51 am:

    this was a great political victory for Rahm, who gets to push the problem on the next mayor and future Chicago taxpayers. But it’s another policy setback.


  22. - Anotheretiree - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:56 am:

    Anonymous - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 9:20 am:

    “I was raised not to cause embarrassment….” Which begs the question, based on Madigans personality, ‘Then what WAS he raised to cause..’?
    The Sausage to be made…


  23. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 10:00 am:

    ==The trickle will become, if not a torrent, a wellspring==

    Is that how we should interpret the 7 Dem votes against the Speaker’s budget? Mutiny?

    At this point, both sides are long since committed. Either compromise or usher in your own demise. If you capitulate then the opposing party and media will pounce, asking why your =side= did not capitulate months ago to spare the state this pain. If you refuse to compromise then you risk many incumbents in both parties paying the price in November. If you compromise, then everyone lives to fight another day.


  24. - Juice - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 10:03 am:

    There are far more savings over the long term the faster the pension debt gets paid off. So I guess on that front, the Governor is right.

    But in the other hand, I would love to see him articulate why the City of Chicago’s pension funding policy should be held to a higher standard than his own. First he proposes reducing the contribution by $2.2 billion. Then he proposes to use accounting gimmicks to short the payment by $780 million. Then he proposes substantive language that would give him unilateral authority to kill the continuing approp. I would also be interested to hear his view as to why Chicago should be at 90% funded five years before the State, even though the state has had a head start for a number of years.


  25. - IllinoisBoi - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 10:05 am:

    Interesting that Rauner seems to believe that promises made to police and firefighters are the only ones the state needs to keep. Forget promises made to vendors, medical providers, social service providers, schools and universities, students, state employees, etc. etc. etc.


  26. - Juvenal - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 10:06 am:

    ….says the Governor who is borrowing $12 billion from state vendors at an interest rate of 12% APR…at a cost to taxpayers of $40 billion by 2056.


  27. - anon - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 10:14 am:

    It’s good to see a few Republicans vote their conscience instead of following orders. I recognize, however, that independence is seen as a virtue only in the opposition.


  28. - an independent - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 10:29 am:

    Formally known as…..we can only hope that Mr. Harris has set a tone that both sides of the aisle can emulate. I believe that he has.


  29. - Enviro - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 10:59 am:

    Thank you Rep. Harris, Rep. McSweeney, and Rep. McAuliffe.


  30. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 11:00 am:

    –There’s something more than a little off with the Speaker this session. –

    There’s something more than a little vague in that statement.

    Do you not know what you’re trying to say but felt the need to say something, anyway, or are you unable to find the words to articulate a clear thought?


  31. - the red baron - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    Proft is hoping this will get him another million or two for future races.


  32. - Enviro - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 11:04 am:

    This is more than a veto override. It is a glimmer of hope to the people of Illinois. It is a hope that reason and justice will prevail in the end.


  33. - A guy - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 11:13 am:

    ===Do you not know what you’re trying to say but felt the need to say something, anyway, or are you unable to find the words to articulate a clear thought?===

    Uh huh.


  34. - BigDoggie - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 11:24 am:

    Is it just me, or does it seem that every time the Dems get their way, it’s another knife plunged into the backs of our children and grandchildren?? Will they ever take fiscal responsibility seriously!?


  35. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 11:37 am:

    What missing from all the coverage is the quid pro quo with police and fire unions…what did they get? The answer is SB440. The bill is presented as technical corrections and it does make some Tier 2 changes for widows and children that seem fair. However, tuck in the bill is a 3% COLA that happens to cover fire union officials and pension board members. Even if one were to argue the COLA has been regularly extended, this time the date is extended one year further to cover a certain pension board member. Rauner should at least line item out the COLA. (Hat tip to Dan Fabrizio…well played)


  36. - Sue - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 11:59 am:

    This is exactly what Daley did/ pass off the pension funding to his successors. Rahm gets to postpone the payments and sticks the taxpayers for more dough in the future. Maybe by then Chicago will get BK authority


  37. - Steve - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 12:29 pm:

    The media can claim it being a huge loss for Rauner but… now Rauner can claim he tried to do something about pensions. Chicago Democrats created the problem , in Chicago, and now they will wait for a federal bailout when/if they control Congress again. You can’t say Rauner wasn’t trying to be responsible. Kicking the can down the road is highly irresponsible. That’s what Chicago voted for and now they will be taking deep and hard when those pension funds go bust.


  38. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 12:42 pm:

    ===The media can claim it being a huge loss for Rauner but… now Rauner can claim he tried to do something about pensions.===

    Nah. Police and Fire unions will remember, as will all of Labor.

    Rauner won with 2 in 5 Union household voters voting Rauner.

    Labor gets that down to 1 in 5 or 1 in 6…. Lots of losses for Rauner.


  39. - Waldi - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 12:50 pm:

    This is probably the first issue on which I have agreed with Rauner. Public pension’s shouldn’t be used as the State’s piggy bank.


  40. - Amalia - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 1:17 pm:

    so what if anything happens with Harris, McAuliffe, and McSweeney? what are the general implications for them?


  41. - Denisquared - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 3:25 pm:

    Rahm just got the same deal for Chicago, the economic engine of not only Illinois, but the Midwest, that the state has. Can we focus on no more deferred payments? Steady regular payments and how about shooting for 75% funded as opposed to 90%? Again start dealing.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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