The state legislature passed Chicago pension legislation over the weekend that would reduce for five years the city's contribution that it is legally mandated to make to its woefully underfunded police and fire pension funds.
State law currently requires the city to make an additional $550 million contribution to its police and fire pension funds next year.
Under the newly-passed pension measure, which now goes to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk, the city's total payment due next year for its police and fire pension funds would be reduced to $619 million from about $838 million. Also, the city's 2040 deadline to have its police and fire pension funds 90 percent funded would be extended to 2055.
The bill passed the Senate on Sunday and cleared the House on Saturday.
In a statement Sunday after the legislation was approved in the Senate, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said: "I am pleased that this afternoon the Illinois Senate recognized that SB777 provides a reasonable and responsible funding plan that will secure the pensions of our first responders while reducing the burden on our taxpayers. I thank House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, members of both chambers, and our partners at police and fire. This weekend's passage is a critical first step to mitigate the $600 million property tax increase that current law mandates for Chicago taxpayers this year while ensuring that our police and fire pensions are fully-funded."
State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palantine) was at least one lawmaker who voiced concerns about the Chicago pension measure.
"This is nothing more than a pension holiday," Murphy said prior to the bill's vote in the Senate, according to the Associated Press. "They need to start taking it seriously in Chicago. Otherwise, they're going to be in a situation where bankruptcy does become real for these funds and maybe beyond."