The Illinois Senate on Monday easily approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to shore up two city worker pension funds, but the measure faces an uncertain future now that it’s headed to a skeptical Gov. Bruce Rauner.
The mayor’s bill is aimed at preventing retirement systems for municipal workers and laborers from going broke in about a decade. The two funds are a combined $21 billion short of what’s needed to pay out future benefits, and the plan relies on newly hired employees paying more toward their retirement.
The House approved the bill 91-16 last month, and on Monday the Senate followed suit, 41-0. But the Rauner administration, which is seeking a broader deal to cut costs in state worker pension systems, responded Monday by throwing some cold water on the plan.
“The governor cannot support this bill without real pension reform that protects taxpayers,” Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said in a statement.
* And then things got heated. Sun-Times…
“Bruce Rauner is Governor Gridlock, and he is showing why nothing gets done in Springfield,” [Emanuel’s communications director Adam Collins] wrote.
“The bill to affirm our plan to save the last two city pensions enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses. It passed 41-0 in the Senate and 91-16 in the House, both veto proof majorities. Instead of spending his time figuring out how to stop us from fixing our pensions, the governor should focus on passing a budget and fixing his own.” […]
“The Chicago machine created the pension mess and now wants the state to green light another hike on Chicago taxpayers,” said Lance Trover, Rauner’s deputy chief of staff for communications. “That might work for Mike Madigan and Rahm Emanuel but it’s unfair to Chicago homeowners. Madigan’s Mayor has already cost Chicago taxpayers too much.”
If Rauner waits to veto the measure until the lame duck session is over, the bill will die. New members sworn in Tuesday wouldn’t have the authority to overturn it.