By Ted Dabrowski -
Gov. Pat Quinn has a decision to make on Monday.
If he signs the Chicago pension bill sitting on his desk, he’ll give Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s aldermen the green light to hit Chicagoans with property tax hikes.
If he vetoes it, he’ll keep his promise of tax relief for all Illinoisans, a promise he made in his 2015 state budget address.
Quinn has good reasons to veto the bill.
First, the bill isn’t pension reform. It doesn’t do anything to fix the structural defects of Chicago’s failed pension system.
Instead, it calls for the city to increase its pension contributions by more than $4 billion through 2025. Emanuel wants Chicagoans to foot most of that with $2.25 billion in property tax hikes.
Second, if this bill becomes the template for Chicago’s other pension funds, then Chicagoans can count on even more tax hikes in the future. Chicago’s police, fire, teachers and park district pension funds are all in dire shape. Without real pension reform, the tax hikes will be massive.
Last, the bill doesn’t improve the retirement security of Chicago’s city workers. Instead, it leaves city-worker retirements under the control of the same politicians who bankrupted them in the first place.
Quinn said that property taxes hit middle-class families the hardest, and that for too long Illinois has overburdened its taxpayers. He’s right. The last thing Chicagoans need is a property tax hike.
Call Quinn at (312) 878-5009 today and tell him to keep his promise to taxpayers. Tell him to veto the Chicago pension bill.
Ted Dabrowski is a senior policy advisor at Illinois Policy Institute.