Mayor Rahm Emanuel opens up on new museum rumors, pension crisis

Mayor Rahm Emanuel hopes to convince Chicagoans to pay more in property taxes to help solve the city's pension crisis.
April 10, 2014 4:09:37 PM PDT
Mayor Rahm Emanuel hopes to convince Chicagoans to pay more in property taxes to help solve the city's pension crisis.

ABC 7 Eyewitness News anchor Alan Krashesky sits down with Chicago's mayor to discuss the city's pension crisis.

The mayor's plan includes an estimated $58 annual tax increase for the next five years for the average homeowner, while reducing some benefits for retirees.

This plan, however, does not solve all of the city's pension troubles

''We will do something in a balanced way, responsible, that addresses this issue, because if we don't address it, in three years' time, it'll be more expensive, in five years' time, then you'll be facing, not just for the funds, where they go belly-up, it could pull the city,'' Emanuel said.

Although Emanuel's plan tackles more than half of Chicago's pension problem, there's still the remainder that includes, pensions for police, fire and underwater, and no one is saying where this money originates.

''For police and fire, bring forth ideas. We have to look at different ways to address that issue,'' Emanuel said.

The mayor doesn't rule out a lease tax for Chicago's downtown - but that would require a change in Illinois law.

Regarding a casino in Chicago; Emanuel isn't convinced that the revenue from it can be relied upon.

''As it relates to a casino, everyone wants that to be the panacea to solve all problems, you have to do something that's reliable,'' Emanuel said.

On another matter, the mayor confirms that Chicago is in talks with filmmaker George Lucas to bring a new privately-funded museum to Chicago.

''There's been a lot of discussions, we're in this for real, one is, George Lucas talking about a museum very invested in schools science, technology, engineering and math, so helping us with our stem education,'' Emanuel said.

The mayor said he'd eventually like the city of Chicago to land The Barack Obama Presidential Library.

''These two contributions would even further drive our tourism and convention industry in Chicago, creating thousands and thousands of new jobs and economic activity,'' Emanuel said.

Gov. Pat Quinn still needs to approve the bill and then aldermen would need to vote on the bill, both considered a tough sell for the mayor.

Check out the full interview with Mayor Emanuel on ABC 7 airing Sunday at 8:00 a.m. during ''Newsviews.''


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