Via the Chicago Tribune:
In Illinois state lawmakers dealt a surprise loss to Gov. Bruce Rauner when a handful of Republicans joined with Democrats to override his veto of a bill to provide Chicago with financial relief in paying for police and fire pensions. But the fight and threat to pensions is far from over.
Meeting on the eve of Tuesday’s scheduled adjournment, the move came almost exactly one year after the bill originally passed and only a few days after Rauner vetoed it, prompting a weekend of heated words between the Republican governor and Democratic mayor who once were vacation friends.
The override avoids another immediate City Hall property-tax hike following last year’s record increase. The Monday vote also injected a major element of drama into the ongoing battle between Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly, one that has left Illinois without a formal state government spending plan for nearly a year.
It was the first time that the Democrat-controlled General Assembly has succeeded in overturning a major Rauner veto without first reaching a deal with the governor.
The bill was long sought by Emanuel and provides short-term relief to the city by reducing in the short term how much taxpayers contribute to the retirement funds by hundreds of millions of dollars a year through the creation of a new payment schedule. But it also comes at a price, adding billions of dollars in long-term costs while the city’s pension debt continues to grow.
“I particularly want to thank the Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly for putting politics aside and doing the right thing for Chicago taxpayers, and for our first responders,” Emanuel said in a statement. “We in the city agreed to step up and finally do our part to responsibly fund these pensions, and I want to thank Springfield for doing their part as well.”
Rauner, who has been critical of Emanuel’s governance of the city, in particular for failing to take on the Chicago Teachers Union, issued a statement deriding the override vote.
“Clearly, those who supported this measure haven’t recognized what happens when governments fail to promptly fund pension obligations,” he said. “Instead of kicking the can down the road, local and state governments should instead focus on reforms that will grow our economy, create jobs and enable us live up to the promises we’ve made to police and firefighters.”