Bailey says Emanuel's plan to borrow billions to prop up pension system is 'insane'
Darren Bailey argues Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s latest attempt to save the city from its ongoing pension crisis should seal his fate in his upcoming re-election battle.
“I think what he’s doing is insulting and disgraceful and I can’t imagine Chicago voters going out and picking him to serve as their mayor once again,” Bailey told the SE Illinois News. “The city of Chicago needs new leadership for all our sakes.”
Media outlets have reported Emanuel is considering a plan to borrow billions of dollars to pay toward the $28 billion it already owes in pension liability. The proposal will have the city issuing bonds at lower interest rates, then using the funds that remain to help erase the outstanding debt. The pension funds would then invest bond proceeds, with the hope being that early returns would outpace interest the city is obligated to pay on the bond debt.
With annual pension contributions expected to rise by at least $900 million between 2019 and 2023, Carole Brown, a top city financial officer, told the Chicago Tribune the city is evaluating the plan and hopes to make a final decision sometime this year.
The issuance of pension obligation bonds would be a first for the city, which over the last three years has been forced to borrow nearly a billion more dollars as part of an effort to prop up the city’s other four worker pension funds.
Bailey, running against Democrat Cynthia Given in the 109th District, thinks the borrowing could be fueling the problem.
“It’s insane to engage in all this irresponsible and risky business when you can’t even cover the debt you already have,” he said.
Voters have to start to educate themselves about what’s going in government so that they can come to have a stronger voice in determining the direction of their own futures, Bailey said.
“Voters have to decide to get educated before this train rides all the way off the tracks,” he said. “I can tell you an educated voter is the worse nightmare for some of these politicians.”
The 109th House District includes Clay, Edwards, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne and White counties.