Chicago CEO proposes public safety pension reform

January 28, 2011 6:08:53 PM PST
Chicago's Chief Financial Officer proposed public safety pension reform Friday to prevent what he called extreme ''burden on taxpayers.''

Gene Saffold said state legislation signed into law this month requires Chicago to raise property taxes by $550 million.

He suggests dropping city funding of police and firefighter pensions to 80 percent instead of 90 percent.

"Now this change will not significantly change the pattern of growth in the funded ratio but it will help to ease the burden on taxpayers," Saffold said. "Our proposed legislation also extends the deadline to reach the 80 percent funding target from 25 years -- as it is currently written -- to 50 years, which is consistent with requirements for the State of Illinois and Chicago Transit Authority pension funds."

Saffold said these changes--plus increased police and firefighter contributions for their pensions-- would save property taxpayers 310 million dollars annually.