Friday, April 27, 2018

Emanuel blames Daley for avalanche of tax increases — without saying his name

Not his fault



Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday blamed his predecessor and political mentor for the avalanche of tax increases needed to solve Chicago’s $36 billion pension crisis without uttering the name of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. | Max Herman/For the Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday blamed his predecessor and political mentor for the avalanche of tax increases needed to solve Chicago’s $36 billion pension crisis without uttering the name of former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

“I would love nothing else in my life if somebody else had done it. … The question isn’t what I did. Part of the question has to be what wasn’t done beforehand that required that action” the mayor said during a taping of the WLS-AM (890) Radio program, “Connected to Chicago,” to be broadcast at 7 p.m. Sunday.

“Had this been taken care of before, it would have been taken care of at a much cheaper price. People
chose their politics over the progress of the city. They kicked the can down the road. … I did not create it. But I was gonna be determined to do something different, which is to fix it.”

Emanuel has spent the last seven years criticizing and undoing virtually everything Daley did without criticizing him by name.

That’s the unwritten agreement the two men made in exchange for what appeared to many Chicagoans to be an orchestrated election that saw William Daley replace Emanuel as White House chief-of-staff under then-President Barack Obama and Emanuel take Richard M. Daley’s place at City Hall.


Mayor Daley and Mayor Emanuel at the opening of the skating ribbon at the new Maggie Daley Park. Saturday, December 13, 2014. | Brian Jackson/ Sun-Times

But Daley’s decision to punt the pension crisis to his successor left Emanuel holding the bag and doing the heavy lifting.

He’s identified dedicated funding sources for all four city employee pension funds. But Chicago taxpayers have paid a heavy price.

They’ve been hit with $1.2 billion in property tax increases for police, fire and teacher pensions; a 29.5 percent tax on water and sewer bills to save the Municipal Employees pension fund and a 56 percent and 28.2 percent increases in the monthly tax tacked on to telephone bills — on cellphones and land lines — for the Laborers Pension fund.

After the election, Chicago homeowners and businesses face yet another property tax increase for police and fire pensions in 2020 — and another hike the following year in the tax tacked onto water and sewer bills to save the Municipal Employees pension fund.

Following five-year “ramp-up” periods, additional increases will be needed to honor the city’s statutory promise to keep all four city government pension funds on the road to 90 percent funding by 2048.

By the city’s own estimate, police and fire pension costs will rise by $297.3 million, or 36 percent, in 2020. The Municipal and Laborers plan costs will grow by $330.4 million, or 50 percent, in 2022.

On Thursday, Emanuel didn’t want to talk about how he will fill those daunting funding gaps. He would only say, “At the right time and place, we’ll deal with that.”

He was more interested in dodging the blame for the mountain of tax increases he has already imposed. And pointing the finger of blame at Daley — without saying his name.

“In 2007, the pension [shortfall] was, by the pension commission’s [estimate] like $400 million. By the time I came, fixing it was about $1.2 billion,” the mayor said.

Emanuel noted that he negotiated cost-saving concessions with organized labor. But the Illinois Supreme Court overturned that plan. The only alternative was to raise taxes.

“Had we tried to kick the can down further, not only would the pensions have been in real hock,” he said. “So would the whole city. … I had no desire having to do what I had to do. But the road had basically come to an end of playing politics and letting somebody else fix it.”

In 2007, Daley created a 32-member commission drawn from labor, business and banking to confront a problem that threatened to choke future generations of Chicago taxpayers: underfunded city employee pension funds.

Daley said then that the comprehensive solution he was seeking could include everything from benefit reductions and increased employee contributions to a higher retirement age and a shift away from “defined benefit” pension plans and toward the “defined contributions” or 401(k) plans favored by private industry.

“I hope it’s controversial. It has to be. If it’s not controversial, then it’s not worth anything. A lot of people will not be happy,” Daley said then.

It wasn’t controversial. Daley wouldn’t let it be controversial. Instead, it turned out to be an exercise in political avoidance.

After two years of study, the commission concluded that reduced employee benefits, higher worker contributions and “new revenue” would be needed to bail out four city employee pension funds then due to run out of money by 2030.

But there were no specific recommendations about what revenues to raise. Just a definition of the gaping need.

17 comments:

  1. Pretty much every big city and state that have constitution protected pensions have the same problem,and they are all looking for relief through any loopholes they can find in the law. If and when one of these are successful in finding legal relief from their pension obligations,LOOK OUT!!. The only thing o me that is amusing about this whole mess is Rahm feigning that he had no idea just how bad things really are.Rahm needs to keep a lid on this for as long as he can lest he ruin any chance at running on the National level,which make no mistake sport fans, he dearly wants to do

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    1. Anonymous4/27/2018

      He's toxic Nationally. Notice how he's always trying to insert himself into every conversation regarding the DNC and their issues going forward. No one likes him anymore, if they ever even did. His time has come. Hopefully, we can rid ourselves of his vexing presence in 10 months. Otherwise, our city will continue its decline.

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    2. Anonymous4/27/2018

      Rahm is done now. He doesn't have to think about running for a national office.

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  2. Anonymous4/27/2018

    Emanuel hasn't fixed anything and in fact, he has kicked the can down the road. $1.2 billion to fix it when he came in, then why didn't he attempt to fix it in the first term? Why has he been giving money away to his corporate friends while bitching and moaning about being poor?

    Why does he insist on spending money fighting things in court like fighting for $1.5 million in Byrne grants, then turning around and spending more money on a City ID program that really is, for nothing more, to grant access for undocumented immigrants to vote (despite what his people say).

    Why has he rolled over on each and every lawsuit with the police? How many millions has that cost us?

    Why has he privatized so many city services? Don't you think that plays into the financial morass we're in with pensions? Less people coming on in all of the funds means that less people are paying into it. The city drags its feet on all of the payments as it is.

    Notice that none of these ramp-ups have even taken place?

    The man is a shyster who does not deserve to be re-elected.

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    1. Oh at least he was able to keep us a Sanctuary City,and don't forget those new ID cards to appease the Hispanics

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    2. Anonymous4/27/2018

      Looks like they said that above. Goes without saying that it's just as relevant when you say it again. The man is a criminal, and people of all stripes need to recognize it. He can take all of his visits to the Ward in recent months and shove it.

      If he hadn't hid a tape to be re-elected, then rolled over on CPD, squandered what little resources there were, hired 1000 more police (promise he made in 2011, by the way), and continued hiring police, Paul Bauer would still be alive. (And he could have saved us all an expensive photo-op on his trip to SJF for a pancake breakfast for police, where he took two gas-guzzling SUVs, as if he is the goddamn President). Most important, Paul Bauer would be alive. And crime wouldn't be infecting every corner of the city, from the richest (Gold Coast) to the poorest (Lawndale, Englewood).

      If he didn't spend outrageous amounts privatizing city services, including dirty schools, the pension funds wouldn't be bleeding as bad as they are.

      F-ck this guy, he is a disgusting charlatan who needs to be voted out next year!

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  3. Anonymous4/27/2018

    Emanuel is just an arrogant opportunist looking for any opportunity to fill his pockets.

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    1. Anonymous4/27/2018

      As if he didn't get enough when he went into "investment banking," hired solely because of his Clinton contacts, to put together "deals" that would land him $16 Million over 18 months. Or, his pivotal role in propping up housing in the run up to 2007 as board member, and his dumping of Freddie stock. Yes, he is a thief. It is time for him to move on.

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  4. Anonymous4/27/2018

    The continuing cave in on lawsuits involving the Chicago police is a double edged sword that only cuts one way. It undermines the confidence and morale of the Chicago Police department and it bleeds the taxpayers dry with the out of court settlements, uncontested by the Corporation counsel's office, and endorsed by the finance committee of the city council. And yet we continue to elect these people who can only keep track of the money stuffed in their pockets, courtesy of us, who directly or indirectly subsidize them and their outside interests.

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    1. Anonymous4/27/2018

      At least 7 candidates will be running for Mayor. Some are quite good, others are awful. But the most awful is Rahm Emanuel. Do not vote for him.

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  5. Anonymous4/27/2018

    I thought all was well when Mayor Daley gave his son and nephew the pension fund monies that they used to form some kind of real estate holdings with China.

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  6. Anonymous4/27/2018

    Cut all medical coverage for all city workers, even retired. Put on obama care.

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    1. Anonymous4/27/2018

      That’s the only way to get debt relief. Reduce pay and have city workers pay half insurance and half pensions for 5 years. See what’s happens.

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    2. Anonymous4/28/2018

      Just file bankruptcy.

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    3. Anonymous4/28/2018

      We're already on 0bamacare. $922 premium every month. $5500 annual deductible. This is single coverage, and it goes up about 30% every year.

      This is what hard-working police and firemen have to look forward to in retirement.

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    4. Anonymous4/28/2018

      $922 a month, if age and deteriorating health don't kill you, the premium will

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  7. Anonymous4/29/2018

    No offense but that is what pretty much all "hard working" Americans were put through years ago with Obamacare. Rahm is a disaster. But there are degrees of disaster. The upcoming election looks a lot like when Harold ran and the white vote was split. Thus electing a man who but for a heart attack, would have slowly turned Chicago into Detroit. Then dumb dumb Daley spent and gave away billions in tax dollars to his buddies and our "Proud Unions" and left nothing for the dry season. In fact he covered it up with the parking meter boondoggle that patched up the massive drop in income from the Great Recession. Enter Rahmbo who now has to deal with the prior mayors' Democratic screw ups. So he does what all Democrats do and starts raising our taxes, adding Big Brother cameras everywhere to take more of our money. Now Democrats who are city workers and union workers in Chicago are complaining. The game was rigged in your favor for decades but it was still a rigged game. Those games cant last. So lets get rid of Rahm. Maybe. But does anyone think ANYONE in the mayoral race now will change the fundamental liberal left Democrat playbook of fiscal disaster and failure? I see either an Hispanic or Black takeover of the levers of power in Chicago. Not good for the 19th Ward. BLM lunatics will be on 111th Street on a weekly basis.

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