Despite a veto by the governor, Chicago will get to kick the pension can down the road.
Senate Bill 777 gives Chicago until 2055 to reach 90 percent funding for its police and fire pensions. Both the House and Senate overrode the governor’s veto Monday.
Republican Rep. David Harris joined Democrats in supporting an override in the House. “So you know what? The city is down right now. It’s taking its lumps, all right? I don’t like to kick someone when they’re down.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner said he vetoed the bill because it’s not responsible and kicks the pension can down the road.
“I am trying to protect the taxpayers of Illinois from that $18.6 billion future, future tax hike, and I’m trying to protect the police officers and firefighters who have been promised something and they deserve to get what they’ve been promised,” Rauner said.
Republicans say other pension funds have until 2040 to reach 90 percent. But Senate President John Cullerton said the other funds had 40 years to make their funds whole, and it’s only fair to give Chicago the same amount of time to pay the liability.
Rauner said the measure highlights Chicago’s failed policies.
“What Chicago has been doing for decades, and it’s the reason they’re so financially on the verge of bankruptcy as a city and as a school district, is because they’ve been borrowing to fund operations and that’s what the mayor is doing by delaying these pension payments,” Rauner said.