Statement of Progressive Reform Caucus on City Employee Pensions

Courtesy of The Chicago City Council

Edited by Lawndale Bilingual Newspaper

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - NegociosChicago’s thousands of employees keep their promise to our city. But will our City keep its promise to them? This is the question the City Council and the Mayor must face.
There is plenty of talk about a looming pension crisis. But this is a manufactured crisis. It is the result of decades of failure on the part of City leaders to meet longstanding fiscal obligations. It represents a failure to make timely, regular and full payments into the City’s 7 pension funds. And it is a failure arising from mismanagement and possible corruption in the oversight of those funds.

The City’s past strategy has been to delay payments to the fund to keep that cash available for other expenses. However, the longer you delay, the deeper the hole you dig.  Neither the present City Council nor the Mayor created this situation. Nor is this backlog of pension fund payments the fault of any of the City employees or the unions or professional organizations that represent them.

Who pays if the City defers or defaults on such obligations? No surprise here–it is the taxpayers–especially the homeowners–who will shoulder increases to try to play catch-up.  The Progressive Reform Caucus proposes that the Mayor and the City Council face up now to this situation. The longer we wait, the worse the debt will grow. To organize this process, we recommend that the Council convene a special panel which includes the representatives of the City’s employees as well as fiscal agencies, fund managers and elected officials, to create a plan to dig out of this mess and ensure a secure retirement for all City employees at all levels. This plan must include identifying new sources of revenue that do not rely on the property tax. This discussion must involve the public. 

Every City employee, from the men and women who fight our fires to the ones who answer our 9-1-1 calls, to the ones who read stories to our kids in the libraries, to those who clean up the streets and alleys and flush out the sewers–all of them protect the quality of life of all of us. How can we do less for them? Time to put our heads together, Chicago, listen to each other, from the firehouse to the schoolhouse to City Hall. It will require discipline, respect and careful planning. But together, we can solve this.
The Chicago City Council Progressive Reform Caucus released the following statement on Friday. Progressive Caucus members include: Ald. Bob Fioretti (2), Ald. Leslie Hairston (5), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6), Ald. Toni Foulkes (15), Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22), Ald. Scott Waguespack (32), Ald. Nick Sposato (36) and Ald. John Arena (45). 

Comments are closed.