Emanuel To Quinn: Deal With Pension Debt Now

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois lawmakers should heed the warnings of the Civic Federation, which says the state’s pension debt will grow by leaps and bounds if immediate steps aren’t taken.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, the Civic Federation says the state’s more than $9 billion in unpaid pension obligations to grow to $35 billion in unpaid bills 2017 if the governor and lawmakers don’t reverse troubling trends.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Mayor Emanuel says the City of Chicago is dealing with a similar reality already.

“I think the budget vote was two minutes old – I said, ‘We took one giant step, but we have to now deal with our pensions,’ because it’s not fair to the workers who are paying into a system that’s not going to be honest to them because it can’t pay what it owes, and I’m surely not going to let taxpayers foot a bill that could call – when you do all the pensions in, if we make no changes, requires property taxes to go up 100-plus percent,” Emanuel said.

Pensions are not the only problem contributing to the state’s ever-ballooning deficit, the Civic Federation said. President Laurence Msall said Monday that Medicaid growth is “growing at such a rate that it is going to swamp as well as the pension crisis in the State of Illinois.”

Unpaid Medicaid bills could increase to $23 billion by 2017, the Civic Federation said.

A spokeswoman says Quinn wants to take on the Medicaid crisis, but so far, lawmakers have failed to do so.

State Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Kelly Kraft couldn’t say what specific changes the Office of Management and Budget is seeking to the Medicaid system, but says Quinn last year proposed a 6 percent cut in the Medicaid reimbursement rate.

  • sickened

    Pension problem?? Make public workers retire at 62 like everyone else instead of 52. End villages giving 50k incentives for workers to retire early so they can shift their pay to the state. Put an end to public workers getting 75% of their pay for retirement, no other workers get that. In addition put a cap on pensions. Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying in excess of 100k for gym teachers that retire when their 52 years old. The taxpayers are sick of this. No wonder the state is broke, it’s an insult to the working people.

    • Jim

      I totally agree, but 62? More like 65 IF you could afford it! With the way these Democrats keep increasing our taxes and or “fees” it will be more like 70 – 72, but at least public sector workers can retire 20 years earlier than us!

  • Afro

    You know if Rahm weren’t such a rambling babbling fool he may have been able to get a message Springfield once in a while

  • tom Sharp

    Not a perfect solution, but one that will definitely cut future loses: TERM LIMITS OF ONE!

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