Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed into law laws that will increase advantages to the Chicago firefighters’ pension fund, regardless of requires him to veto the invoice by fellow Democrats and enterprise leaders.
“I’ve at all times believed that hardworking women and men who’ve earned their pension shouldn’t pay the worth for native or state price range challenges,” Pritzker mentioned in a press release. “HB 2451 creates a system that provides all firefighters certainty and truthful remedy.”
The bill, which was sponsored by State Senator Rob Martwick, D-Chicago, removes a beginning date restriction for beneficiaries within the Firemen’s Annuity and Profit Fund of Chicago who had been born after Jan. 1, 1966, and units the annual value of dwelling adjustment (COLA) to three% from 1.5% for firefighters born after that date. The fund has roughly $1.1 billion in belongings and $5.1 billion in unfunded liabilities, and was 18.4% funded as of the finish of 2019.
“If we ever hope to proper our monetary ship, we should lastly put an finish to the irresponsible habits that put us right here within the first place,” Martwick mentioned in a press release. “This legislation merely ensures that the town confronts the true prices of its pension obligations and makes the troublesome choices it must make immediately.”
Martwick argues that the brand new legislation doesn’t really improve the advantages being given to metropolis firefighters, however merely codifies a follow he mentioned has been occurring for practically half a century.
“For 45 years, the town has given each firefighter a better profit than was written into the legislation,” mentioned Martwick. “This modification makes the legislation adjust to these 4 a long time of follow to make sure the town budgets the suitable quantity for that profit.”
Nevertheless, Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot, together with enterprise teams, had known as on the governor to veto the invoice, saying it might be too costly for taxpayers and will greater than double the town’s pension prices to $30 million a yr from $12 million. Lightfoot additionally mentioned that as a result of the brand new legislation doesn’t present a solution to pay for the elevated advantages, Chicago’s metropolis council must discover a supply for the cash.
“Mayor Lightfoot believes strongly that we should work towards a complete pension resolution which retains the guarantees made to retirees and which units pension funds throughout the state on a path to solvency,” the mayor’s workplace mentioned in a press release in January after the state Senate handed the invoice. She added that the invoice “accomplishes neither of those necessary targets, however does cross on an enormous, unfunded mandate to the taxpayers of Chicago at a time when there aren’t any additional funds to cowl this new obligation.”