An item from the do-you-wonder-why-Chicago-is-such-a-financial-mess department? This is from the 2010 budget that Mayor Richard M. Daley unveiled on Wednesday (Page 44):
Pensions and debt service
In 2010, 43.3percent of the city's general levy, or $345 million, will
be used to fund pension contributions for city employees. State law
mandates that the city contribute an amount to each pension fund based
on payroll contributions made by employees.
In 2010, the city's long-term debt obligations will require $368.4
million or 46.2 percent from the property tax levy to retire existing
debt srvice related to the city's Infrastructure Renewal Program...
After all pension, debt service and library funding obligations have
been met, the corporate fund receives the remainder of the property tax
levy. The 2010 budget reflects that no property taxes
will be available for the corporate fund for the sixth consecutive year.
Oh, such interesting nuggets can be found when you read the fine print.
What this says is that after paying pension costs for city employees,
for the interest on all the money that the city has borrowed and all
the library funding obligations, nothing--northing--is left from your
property taxes to pay for police and fire protection and all the rest
of the expenses paid by the city's general (corporate) operating fund.
And it has been that way for six years.
Isn't it time to reopen those labor contracts and negotiate a
reasonable (like those in private sector) pension plan that doesn't
crimp other city programs?