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Mayor Lightfoot wants to “force a reckoning with Springfield” over pensions

Thursday, May 6, 2021

* Debtwire Municipals reporter…


* Related…

* Harmon on pension debt: “We’re going to have to pay it”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

52 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:16 am:

    This tweet is… everything.

    ===@RoyalPratt - Mayor Lori Lightfoot is speaking at an investors conference and calling for Springfield to do something on pensions. This is a recurring talking point for the mayor, who has not yet outlined what she would like state lawmakers and the governor to do. · 11:03 AM · 5/6/21===

    Lightfoot lacks the vision, smarts, savvy, and honesty to the governing and politics needed to look at this and be a major fulcrum to any changes… that could/would be legal.


  2. - RNUG - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:17 am:

    She can make speeches all day long but it doesn’t change one big fact: Chicago asked to control their various pension systems; they were granted that control by the Legislature and made just as big or bigger mess of it than Springfield did on the other pension systems.

    Not saying a mayor who knew how to work the legislative system couldn’t get some relief, but this mayor is mostly clueless on influencing legislative action.


  3. - RNUG - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:22 am:

    To draw an analogy, she is like the hunter who used a shotgun to slaughter a hog and now wonders why the sausage is full of lead.


  4. - Livco - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:25 am:

    Mayor finalizes claim as Illinois’ ranking delegate to the 2024 republican national convention.


  5. - James the Intolerant - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:27 am:

    She is just telling the investors what they want to hear knowing that it is not going to happen. Sad


  6. - Chicago Blues - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:35 am:

    Interesting that she invited commercial developers to the meeting.

    Investing in Chicago real estate, today, means entering a marketplace in which property taxes and/or sales taxes necessarily have to increase.

    The threat of those increases have to be factored into any investment or development.

    CME’s announcement that they are closing most of their pit trading is not surprising. But with most law firms operating remotely, and now CME shuttering their pits, the business traffic downtown could be a long time returning.

    The promise of higher taxes doesn’t help the real estate equation.


  7. - DuPage - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:35 am:

    The pensions were already cut back in 2011. It was called Tier2. Pay the pensions first, the spend on the other programs.


  8. - dbk - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:36 am:

    Well that’s a good way to make friends in Springfield, though I’m not sure they’ll be the kind of friends she wants/needs.

    Honestly, Mayor LL appears to lack core political skills.

    Her oppositional performative posturing is sad for Chicago and bad for the state.


  9. - levivotedforjudy - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:38 am:

    “We know what the solutions are but we lack the political will.” And those solutions are?


  10. - King Louis XVI - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:40 am:

    Who gave Lightfoot a casino and it’s revenue stream? *Checks notes* … Springfield.


  11. - Third Reading - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:43 am:

    I reckon it might be a good time for Springfield to call an elected Chicago school board for a vote.


  12. - Chicagonk - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:45 am:

    I’m with Lightfoot on this. Set aside your personal dislike of her and share one thing Springfield has gotten right when it comes to pensions.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:45 am:

    === “We know what the solutions are but we lack the political will.” And those solutions are?===

    Rauner-type solutions.. that said out loud would leave Lightfoot with even fewer allies than she already has.

    I mean… the lazy incompetence to the policy and politics to that policy is breathtaking.


  14. - Moe Berg - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:45 am:

    Mayor Lightfoot doubles down on her so far unsuccessful strategy of alienating everyone, including those who otherwise would wish to see her succeed.

    Meanwhile, every day more stories about senior officials fleeing her administration.

    The problem, sadly, has become the mayor.

    She lacks the experience, skills and temperament needed for that office.


  15. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:46 am:

    ===share one thing Springfield has gotten right when it comes to pensions===

    Seriously? CPS got state pension help under Rahm. First responder pensions got their own casino revenues.


  16. - Occam - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:48 am:

    “The problem is not going away, it’s only going to intensify.” Why would you say that at an investor conference? That’s like a salesman at the Ford dealership telling a prospective buyer that the Ford Pinto they may want to buy could explode in a fireball in a rear-end collision.


  17. - Amalia - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:50 am:

    “force a reckoning with springfield?” like a reckoning with your staff and managment, Lori?


  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:56 am:

    === “The problem is not going away, it’s only going to intensify.” Why would you say that at an investor conference? That’s like a salesman at the Ford dealership telling a prospective buyer that the Ford Pinto they may want to buy could explode in a fireball in a rear-end collision.===

    Raunerism isn’t partisan.

    Talking down assets and your own, in this case city, governing level and the muni, county, state… is deemed “good”

    It’s like embracing yourself as a failure… but blaming the job itself as a failing task.

    It’s truly breathtaking


  19. - Chicago Blues - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:56 am:

    “Why would you say that at an investor conference?”

    Could be that she’s run out of political capital to move either city or state government.

    Might this be an effort to bring pressure from the financial stakeholders in this mounting crisis.


  20. - Montrose - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:57 am:

    You know she wants the pension amendment. She should at least have the political courage to just say it plainly and directly.

    It would further alienate possible allies, but, hey, if there is anything she has proven to be good at, it is alienating folks that should be in her camp.


  21. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:57 am:

    === bring pressure from the financial stakeholders===

    And that’ll accomplish… what?


  22. - Ashland Adam - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 11:59 am:

    Was the Mayor a proponent of the Fair Tax?


  23. - Juice - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 12:01 pm:

    Anyone else remember when she was a partner at Mayer Brown and the firm’s managing partner called the ratings agencies asking them to downgrade Illinois bonds. And during the time Mayer Brown was under contract to be bond counsel for the state? Good times.


  24. - Sonny - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 12:02 pm:

    This is a chronic issue this talking an absolutely monster game and failing to hit the mark almost every time.


  25. - Chicagonk - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 12:04 pm:

    And yet Springfield just increased the firefighter pension by $30 million annually. Chicago definitely deserves most of the blame for the current situation, but Springfield hasn’t been a great partner either. Like I said I know Lori rubs people the wrong way, but maybe there’s a legitimate reason why she’s frustrated with Springfield.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 12:08 pm:

    ===Chicago definitely deserves most of the blame for the current situation, but Springfield hasn’t been a great partner either. Like I said I know Lori rubs people the wrong way, but maybe there’s a legitimate reason why she’s frustrated with Springfield.===

    You choose;

    Lightfoot, Crew, Staff were far too late to the party to really grasp or understand what was going on and the bill passed and was signed by sheer incompetence

    Lightfoot, Crew, Staff have alienated so many people and have so few allies that when a bill comes up that she feels will hurt the city on the merits, no one will consider her thoughts to policy, no matter where the bill is in its process.


  27. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 12:11 pm:

    === but Springfield hasn’t been a great partner either===

    Takes two to tango


  28. - Levois J - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 12:19 pm:

    Not sure what to say to this. It seems the Mayor’s negatives mount as time goes on. She just wasn’t ready for the job and she’s not ready for the various ongoing issues that won’t be solved during her current term which ends in ‘23.


  29. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 12:36 pm:

    This is precisely the reason Mayor Lightfoot won 73% of the vote, all 50 wards and all but 20 of the 2,069 voting precincts in Chicago .

    Voters soundly rejected public sector union candidate Toni Preckwinkle.


  30. - Ash - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 12:37 pm:

    Seems like Harmon is the only one with political will. The only reform they haven’t tried is to pay them…


  31. - Chicagonk - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 12:46 pm:

    @OW - A quarter of Springfield directly represents Chicago. It’s disappointing they can’t get past their personal frustrations with Lightfoot, because her concerns would be shared by any other mayor of Chicago. Just way too many egos in the room.


  32. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 12:48 pm:

    === A quarter of Springfield directly represents Chicago.===

    Three quarter doesn’t.

    Lots of work to get to 60 and 30… or prevent 60 and 30


  33. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 12:50 pm:

    ===because her concerns would be shared by any other mayor of Chicago===

    Depends on what her solutions are.


  34. - Montrose - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 12:51 pm:

    “It’s disappointing they can’t get past their personal frustrations with Lightfoot,”

    Their frustrations aren’t personal as much as her unwillingness to understand how Springfield works. They want her to be genuinely willing to negotiate and compromise. She is the one with the earned reputation of being unwilling to work with folks because of personal grudges/frustrations.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 12:56 pm:

    ===It’s disappointing they can’t get past their personal frustrations===

    That means you are assuming they all agree on the solutions…

    === “We know what the solutions are but we lack the political will.” ===

    Lightfoot *acknowledges* she has no policy support.

    Prolly because Lightfoot has no clear policy designed to be a solution.

    But… it’s Springfield?


  36. - Arsenal - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 1:02 pm:

    ==It’s disappointing they can’t get past their personal frustrations with Lightfoot==

    It’s not that at all. Many of the lawmakers liked her- and more to the point, thought she was a rising star to which they oughtta hitch their wagons.

    But her shop in Springfield hasn’t been great. Lawmakers get inconsistent messages from the Mayor’s Office, when they hear from it at all. Meanwhile, she’s alienated a fair amount of Aldermen, who talk to their corresponding legislators more than she does.

    The mess is a lot of her own making.


  37. - thisjustinagain - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 1:25 pm:

    Lightfoot steps on her self-planted landmine yet again. Now she thinks investors are gonna arm-twist Springfield into doing “something” to fix Chicago’s pension mess, but refuses to actually say what she wants done. She and her staff left the starting gate tripping over themselves, and they continue to do so. The staff that are leaving are tired of dealing with her, and her failure to understand anything about relating to Springfield, let alone alderpersons.


  38. - Skeptic - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 1:36 pm:

    “This is precisely the reason” I’ve learned over the years that when someone says “The real reason wny…” to a complex problem, they’re usually over simplifying.


  39. - Pundent - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 1:48 pm:

    =It’s disappointing they can’t get past their personal frustrations with Lightfoot=

    I’m not sure that casting it as a personal frustration is accurate. It seems that the mayor doesn’t want to help herself. Most legislators, and particularly Democratic ones, understand the importance of Chicago to our state. She needs to work with these legislators and the governor not at cross purposes. No matter how “right” you think you may be it means nothing if you can’t convince others. We certainly witnessed that with our last governor.


  40. - walker - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 2:38 pm:

    Random word salads are not “solutions” we can agree on.


  41. - 62468 - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 2:45 pm:

    When will mayors across Illinois and IML leaders join Senate President Harmon in saying out loud “We’re going to have to pay it”?

    When will mayors realize it is not a benefits problem, but a debt problem? When might they research amortization schedules and listen to actuaries regarding paths forward?


  42. - northside reformer - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 3:05 pm:

    Lori Lightfoot would be a great legislator. Great pontificator and quick to call things out. She’s a horrible executive. Doesn’t know when to shut up or make friends. Lori is a great mix of two besties: RAhm and Rauner.


  43. - Southwest Sider - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 3:17 pm:

    Read most comments. Practically no solutions proposed. Mostly negative towards our Mayor. I can see the future: a sluggish Illinois economy.


  44. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 3:23 pm:

    === Practically no solutions proposed. Mostly negative towards our Mayor.===

    It’s *HER* job.

    Keep up, Lightfoot isn’t a victim.


  45. - Shytown - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 3:50 pm:

    == Lori is a great mix of two besties: RAhm and Rauner. ==

    But Emanuel actually got stuff done.


  46. - Anon - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 4:47 pm:

    Is her solution that the State should pick up Chicago’s pension or is she alluding to “pension reform” of the type repeatedly rejected by the IL Supreme Court?


  47. - Anon - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 4:50 pm:

    Personally, Id prefer a world where the unit that grants the salary is responsible for the pension cost. But that is not feasible in Illinois today and would cause massive problems with property tax rates.


  48. - Pundent - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 5:37 pm:

    =Practically no solutions proposed.=

    Perhaps you need to read for comprehension. A solution has been proposed many times by many commenters, in this thread and others. You have to pay the legacy debt. And as unpopular as it may be you need to raise the revenue to do so. Lightfoot does not want to raise taxes so she defines the problem as “Springfield.”


  49. - Phil King - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 6:00 pm:

    ==“We know what the solutions are but we lack the political will.” And those solutions are?==

    There’s only one solution. Its obvious and not hard to understand why its the only one: amend the constitution to allow the reforms our state court blocked in 2015.


  50. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 6:04 pm:

    === amend the constitution to allow the reforms our state court blocked in 2015.===

    LOL

    It’s like… “I’m gonna pretend the other stuff isn’t real and make up my own rules” kinda ridiculous.

    What’s owed is owed. Bankruptcy or diminished pensions are a non-starter.

    You don’t have 71/36 to even get to that pesky constitution.


  51. - Phineas Gurley - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 7:41 pm:

    A more skilled executive would sympathize with Springfield while having staff meet with Friends of the Parks to downsone JRTC to a dog park.

    Seriously I hope there are more thoughtful discussions behind the scenes, but that sadly would be new news on this topic.


  52. - Anon - Thursday, May 6, 21 @ 8:31 pm:

    For those clinging to a constitutional amendment, please stop. Even if the Pension Clause is removed, the Illinois Supreme Court is likely to find that vested pensions are protected by the contract clause.


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