It’s difficult to believe, but guess what the Illinois General Assembly was quick to move on after not meeting for over seven months: An increase in benefits for a Chicago pension and more power to the Chicago Teachers Union.
The Illinois Senate voted Monday to raise retirement benefits for over 2,000 Chicago firefighters by giving the right to an automatic 3% annual COLA to more retirees. That would cost city taxpayers $850 million in added benefits by 2055. The Chicago Firefighter’s pension is already in desperate shape, being just 18% funded. The bill already had passed the House. No word yet on whether Gov. JB Pritzker will veto it. A Chicago Sun-Times article on the bill is here. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, to her credit, objected strenuously.
The Senate also passed a bill that would end limits that have been in place for 25 years on what the Chicago Teachers Union can bargain for in contract negotiations. The CTU is limited to negotiating over wages and benefits, but the bill would open negotiations to a host of contract-related issues such as class sizes. This bill, too has already passed the House and Pritzker is thought to be likely to sign it. A WTTW story on the bill is here.