Mayor Richard M. Daley today urged the Illinois General Assembly to pass further pension reform legislation in its fall veto session that begins today in Springfield.
“There's a lot at stake in the next few days in Springfield. I hope our legislators understand the importance of acting now on the pension issue,” Daley said in a City Hall news conference.
The Mayor said that an important step toward getting Chicago’s pension system on a stronger financial footing for the long term is to institute a new benefits plan for new employees.
Last spring, the General Assembly passed a reform bill that changed the pension system for new laborer and municipal fund employees by:
- Reducing the level of pension benefits for new hires as of January 1, 2011;
- Lessening the effect of high “end-of-career” salary increases on pension amounts by measuring the final average salary over a longer period of time;
- Limiting the maximum income that can be granted by any system.
- Preventing employees from receiving a pension and then accepting a full-time position with another employer covered under the entire Pension Code.
“It was a good step in the right direction, but it didn’t go far enough,” Daley said.
He called upon the General Assembly to pass legislation in this session changing the pension system for new police and fire fund employees to bring it in line with the changes enacted earlier this year for new laborer and municipal fund employees.
Changes should include raising the minimum age at which an employee can retire with an unreduced pension from 50 to 55 and placing additional limits on the maximum retirement annuity.
“The City’s pension fund payments are based on current payroll, so the change last spring – and the one we’re proposing today – would not effect our pension payment obligations in the short term,” the Mayor said.
“The General Assembly came together in a bi-partisan effort to pass the pension bill last spring, and I ask them to do the same thing now by taking responsible action that will further strengthen our pension fund and help our taxpayers as well,” he said.
On a different issue, the Mayor encouraged homeowners to check their exemptions if they feel the property tax bill they have recently received is too high or has been calculated incorrectly.
The bills are based on assessments done in 2009 by the Cook County Assessor's Office.
“If you think the value of your home has decreased since then, you can appeal with the Board of Review for the next tax bill, but it won’t change the bill you just received,” he said.
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