Kay blasts Emanuel's 'bailout' for Chicago's pension system, warns it will increase outmigration
Dwight Kay warns he’s heard it all before from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is contemplating borrowing billions of dollars as part of his overall plan to revive the city’s critically ailing pension-plan system.
“What he’s talking about is another bailout,” Kay told the Metro East Sun. “That’s his fix to everything. Granted, it’s a tough job being mayor of a city like Chicago, but it’s not fair for everyone else to have to bail out the city every other year.”
The Chicago Tribune reports Emanuel’s plan would also see the city issue bonds at lower interest rates, then use the funds that remain to pay toward its $28 billion pension debt bill. The pension funds would then invest bond proceeds, with the early returns projected to outpace interest the city would have to pay on the bond debt.
Kay, running against incumbent Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) in Illinois’ 112th District, isn’t buying it.
“I see the whole plan as just a hot mess,” he said. “I would like to see the mayor step up and be a little more creative in addressing the city’s problems. I think the time has come when people are saying other places in the state are just as valuable as the city and we can’t continue to afford (House Speaker Mike) Madigan’s crazed system of government.”
Issuing so-called pension obligation bonds would be a first for Chicago. Since 2015, the city has increased taxes by more than $820 million to bolster contributions to the city’s four worker pension funds.
“The state of Illinois in no position to be considering this,” Kay said. “It will only send more people scurrying for the exits once they realize what’s going on. This is all Madigan’s doing, and all about protecting his well-oiled system. But people need to realize Illinois is more than just his Chicago.”
With the state already among the most heavily taxed in the country, Kay said more residents are weighing their options when it comes to the question of calling Illinois home.
“The taxpayer is looking at that growing tax bill they’re getting and this is what’s on their mind,” he said. “People are starting to become more unforgiving of all our government’s mismanagement.”
Illinois’ 112th House District includes Bethalto, Caseyville, Fairmont City, Glen Carbon, Maryville, Pontoon Beach, Roxana, Shiloh and Swansea.