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Emanuel Makes Changes To Pension Bill

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he’s working hard to get state lawmakers to approve the pension deal that seems to have stalled in Springfield last week.

CBS 2’s Jay Levine reports that the Mayor is making changes to his pension bill, which featured an increase in property taxes. The Mayor changed his mind and Springfield sources tell CBS 2, after discussions that continued through the weekend, Emanuel decided to remove the controversial property tax language that Republicans and Gov. Pat Quinn called a non-starter.

The mayor could choose to have the City Council deal with the tax hike instead, and have the Illinois General Assembly handle the rest of the bill.

To say Governor Quinn doesn’t like the idea of raising Chicago property taxes to reduce the city’s pension debt would be putting it mildly. The governor’s trying to cultivate the image of property tax cutter, even though his promised property tax rebate simply offsets some of the continued income tax increase.

“What I saw last week wasn’t a plan, it was a sketch. It was a sketch that would relegate property owners in Chicago, families and businesses, to a future of higher and higher property taxes. I don’t think that is a good way to go,” said Quinn.

But Mayor Emanuel says he is hoping to make enough changes to change the Governor’s mind.

“When we are done with the bill, I think he sees how important getting pension reform is to the 60,000 workers who require it,” said Emanuel.

The mayor’s plan doesn’t include police and fire pensions and next year the state is mandating a $600 million payment to stabilize those funds.