Mayor Rahm Emanuel still wants to raise Chicago property taxes as part of a plan to shore up city pension systems, but he no longer is asking state lawmakers to do the dirty work.
Faced with blistering criticism from Gov. Pat Quinn and significant reluctance from state lawmakers, the mayor on Monday revised his pension proposal to ensure that the politically unpalatable task of a property tax hike instead would fall solely to the Chicago City Council.
That change makes it easier for lawmakers to vote for the city pension bill and could help Emanuel score a big political victory this spring. But approval of the measure still would do nothing to solve the most immediate financial problem at City Hall — a $600 million increase next year for the pension funds of police and firefighters who would not be covered by the legislation in Springfield.
The flurry of movement on the city pension situation started with Quinn, who last week declined to weigh in on the mayor’s plan. On Monday, however, the re-election seeking Democratic governor, who would have to sign the bill into law, announced that he didn’t like the property tax increase.