New legislature could overrule pension bill veto
A bill that Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed involving pensions for former firefighters serving as aldermen might continue if lawmakers choose to override Rauner's veto, according to Illinois Policy Institute.
The Illinois General Assembly convened Nov. 13 to vote on several bills that the governor vetoed during the regular session.
House Bill 5342 provides a pension boost for former firefighters serving as Chicago City Council members and would amend Illinois pension code.
If a former firefighter served as a Chicago alderman for at least five years, he or she would be eligible for the boost. The bill does not have a requirement for how long they must have served as a fireman.
The bill would change how "active fireman" is defined if a former firefighter was serving on the Chicago City Council and would allow city council members to forego their city council pension for the city's fire pension system.
The bill was vetoed by Rauner in August.
With a pension system already in jeopardy and pension debt amounting to $42 billion, according to Illinois Policy Institute, firefighters and taxpayers could suffer from the bill.
As of last year, Chicago's fire pension fund only had less than 21 cents per $1 owed in benefits, according to the Illinois Policy Institute. The fund has also filed claims with the state comptroller alleging the city shorted them more than $1 million in both 2016 and 2017.
Chicago's require pension contributions are projected to more than double over the next decade, according to Illinois Policy Institute.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has suggested several large multi-year tax hikes as a solution for the pension crisis, which include new taxes for things like ridesharing and e-cigarettes; an increase on taxes for water, sewer and emergency services; more property taxes; and several other taxes involving garbage collection and things like building permits, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.