‘Unsustainable’ pension woes hang over Chicago, Lightfoot says: In a speech to potential investors, the mayor combines optimism about the city’s future with a dire warning

Link: https://www.chicagobusiness.com/greg-hinz-politics/chicagos-recovery-clouded-unsustainable-pension-woes-lightfoot-tells-investors

Excerpt:

Coupling a boatload of optimism with a dire warning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot told investors from around the country that Chicago is well positioned to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and is a good place for them to allocate their cash.

But her remarks May 6 were far different on the subject of underfunded city pension funds, a problem that has bedeviled mayors for the past two decades.

Though workers deserve what they’ve been promised, she said, “that promise will not be met” unless Springfield lawmakers come to the table with financial aid or other reforms.

….

Lightfoot did not use the word “default.” But some financial experts have warned that some of the city’s four pension funds, particularly those covering firefighters and police, may have trouble paying promised benefits within a few years if they don’t get help.

Author(s): Greg Hinz

Publication Date: 10 May 2021

Publication Site: Crain’s Chicago Business

Lightfoot sends letter to Pritzker urging him to veto firefighters pension bill

Link: https://www.radio.com/us99/news/local/lightfoot-urges-pritzker-to-veto-firefighters-pension-bill#new_tab

Excerpt:

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is urging Governor JB Pritzker to veto a bill boosting pensions for thousands of Chicago firefighters.

The bill, introduced by state Sen. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, passed in the waning hours of the lame duck session and awaits Pritzker’s signature or veto.

Mayor Lightfoot said the pension legislation will lead to perpetual property tax increases.

Author(s): Mike Krauser

Publication Date: 19 February 2021

Publication Site: WBBM Chicago

Lightfoot urges Pritzker to veto firefighters pension bill

Link: https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/2/18/22290071/chicago-firefighters-pension-bill-unfunded-liabilities-martwick-lightfoot-governor-pritzker-veto

Excerpt:

A bill that awaits Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signature would boost pensions for about 2,200 active and retired firefighters, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants the governor to veto it. Sun-Times file photo

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is urging Gov. J.B. Pritzker to veto a bill boosting pensions for thousands of Chicago firefighters, arguing it would saddle beleaguered taxpayers with perpetual property tax increases and cripple a pension fund dangerously close to insolvency.

The bill, introduced by state Sen. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, a Lightfoot political nemesis, passed in the waning hours of the lame duck session and awaits Pritzker’s signature or veto.

It removes the “birth date restriction” that prohibits roughly 2,200 active and retired firefighters born after Jan. 1, 1966 from receiving a 3% annual cost of living increase. Instead, they get half that amount, 1.5% — and it is not compounded.

Author(s): Fran Spielman

Publication Date: 18 February 2021

Publication Site: Chicago Sun-Times

The pension front

Link: https://capitolfax.com/2021/02/19/the-pension-front/

Excerpt:

There’s really nothing to strongly disagree with. The city has routinely moved the birth date restriction, but it’s been done in a way that the costs are not funded, which pushes the fund closer to insolvency. This bill would essentially take that routine practice, make it official and force the city to finally pay for it.

Author(s): Rich Miller

Publication Date: 19 February 2021

Publication Site: Capitol Fax

Editorial | Legislative lunacy

Link: https://www.news-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-legislative-lunacy/article_967b0ad5-3d2e-544a-b7ae-83f75d384af4.html

Excerpt:

When it comes to politics and government, Chicago is a force unto itself. Its strengths and weaknesses are, mostly, of its own making.

But the city was recently victimized by the General Assembly, and it’s important for the people of Illinois to know why. What happened speaks to a serious problem — a Legislature seemingly untethered to reality.

…..

Unfortunately, state legislators voted during the recent lame-duck session to increase retirement benefits for 2,200 Chicago firefighters.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, as a newspaper headline put it, objected “strenuously” to the Legislature’s action.

She correctly described it as a “massive unfunded mandate to the taxpayers of Chicago at a time when there are no funds to cover this new obligation.”

Publication Date: 22 January 2021

Publication Site: The News-Gazette