Chicago City Wire

Chicago City Wire

Friday, December 6, 2019

Wirepoints: Denied pension bailout, Lightfoot makes generous offer to Chicago Teachers Union

Politics

By Karen Kidd | Jul 19, 2019

Lori
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

On the heels of asking the state for a taxpayer-funded bailout, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is offering the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) a five-year contract and a 14-percent pay raise, according to a Wirepoints report.

"You have to wonder whether Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot really thought she could get away with it," Wirepoints said in an online article posted Wednesday. "Just three weeks ago, she was demanding a state taxpayer bailout of her city’s nearly bankrupt pension funds. The problem was so big, she said, she’d risk her 're-election' over it. Eventually, Gov. J.B. Pritzker denied her bailout request for obvious reasons – the state is just one notch from a junk rating."

Denied the bailout, now Lightfoot is offering CTU a contract that will cost taxpayers an additional $325 million and includes guaranteed raises of more than 14 percent, Wirepoints reported.


Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker | twitter.com/jbpritzker

"And that, of course, turns into more pension benefits and an even bigger pension hole for CPS," the article said. "That’s an expensive gift for a city that Lightfoot claims is in need of a multi-billion dollar bailout."

Lightfoot defeated Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in April's runoff election for the seat of now former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Lightfoot is the first black woman and first openly gay mayor of Chicago and the second woman to be elected to the job. Prior to becoming mayor, Lightfoot was a partner with the law firm Mayer Brown Chicago and held a number of city government positions, including serving as president of the Chicago Police Board and as chair of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force.

Lightfoot's offer to CTU so soon after asking for a bailout "should infuriate every downstate Illinoisan," the Wirepoints report said.

"Lightfoot has landed some great punches when taking on corruption in City Hall, but when it comes to finances, she’s acting just like any other Chicago politician," the article said. "She said she’d 'risk her political career' to tackle pensions. Making downstate taxpayers foot the city’s pension bills is hardly a 'risk.'"

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