Big Labor Mayor Wants to Stick It to Chicago Homeowners Again
Over the years, government union bosses representing police and fire employees and Chicago politicians have foisted on Windy City taxpayers a pension system that is unaffordable and unsustainable.
According to a 2015 analysis by the Chicago-based citizens’ group Taxpayers United America, there are thousands of retired city police officers now getting more in pension payments than currently employed cops. In hundreds of cases, retirement payments are two to three times the salary of a newly hired public-safety officer.
Just last year, Big Labor-backed Democrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel, formerly President Obama’s chief of staff, rammed through a $543 million property tax increase on ordinary Chicago homeowners, business people, and nonprofits for the purported purpose of shoring up police and fire pensions. Meanwhile, member contributions to the funds and the age of eligibility were left unchanged.
Now, as Chicago Tribune reporters Hal Dardick, Bill Ruthhart and John Byrne explained in an August 4 news article (see the link below to read the whole thing), Emanuel plans to stick it to Chicago homeowners and other property owners again:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday called for a new tax on city water and sewer bills to stabilize the city’s largest pension fund . . . .
Emanuel’s plan, which would increase the average water and sewer bill by 30 percent over the next four years, was quickly met with resistance from some aldermen who argued the city would be better off adding business taxes or even raising property taxes again to come up with the hundreds of millions of dollars a year needed to keep the city’s municipal workers’ pension fund from going bust.
Still, Emanuel projected confidence his plan ultimately would win approval in the City Council, which rarely rebuffs the mayor’s proposals and has yet to independently provide its own solution to solidify any of the city’s four major pension systems that have been woefully underfunded for more than a decade.
Emanuel, who raked in endorsements from the bosses of 70 different union locals and gratefully accepted the forced union dues-fueled support of the Big Labor machine during his successful 2015 reelection campaign, is unapologetic about pushing for tax increases that will jack up the utility bills of all Chicago property owners by roughly the same amount, regardless of their income level.
But the fact is, even if Emanuel wanted to stand up to union monopolists and protect the interests of the overwhelming majority of his constituents, Illinois’ public-sector monopoly-bargaining statutes are so stacked in favor of Big Labor that it would be very difficult for him to do much good. To make genuine reform possible in Chicago and around the state, Illinoisans must first elect a pro-Right to Work Legislature that is willing to cooperate with Gov. Bruce Rauner, himself a harsh critic of compulsory unionism, to roll back Organized Labor officials’ special privileges.