The state’s pension system is unsustainable and lawmakers in Springfield need to amend the state’s constitution to cut out a clause that protects pensions, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday.
Emanuel, who leaves office in the spring, criticized Illinois’ retiree benefits in a speech Wednesday in front of the Chicago City Council. He said the automatic 3 percent annual pay bumps given to retirees are “raises” rather than cost-of-living adjustments. Emanuel echoed Gov. Bruce Rauner’s call to amend the state constitution to eliminate the pension protection clause.
Under the terms of many of the state’s public pension agreements, retirees receive a three percent annual compounded increase. Emanuel said the annual pay increases were designed to help pensions keep pace with inflation. Automatic raises for retirees don’t make sense when city workers have to take furlough days because of tight budgets, the mayor said.