Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel received an answer of “no” to his request to pass a bill which would have helped fund pensions for the city’s police and firemen.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said that Emanuel’s plan did not include cost-cutting savings. He said the bill would force the city taxpayers to pay more in the long run.
“Borrowing billions against taxpayers is not the solution,” Rauner said.
But for now the veto will remove $220 million from the city’s budget. The mayor might have to raise property taxes on Chicago residents to make up the deficit. Some critics of the governor say he squashed the plan as much for political reasons and economic. They say that Republican Rauner would like to have some power of Democrats in upcoming fights over budgeting, taxes and the pro-business, anti-union changes the governor is after.
The bill the governor vetoed would have covered the cost of contributions to the Policemen’s and Firemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund.
“The cost to Chicago’s taxpayers of kicking this can down the road is truly staggering,” Rauner said in the statement. “Chicago is borrowing against its taxpayers to the tune of $18.6 billion. This practice has to stop. If we continue, we’ve learned nothing from our past mistakes.”
Emanuel replied: “With a stroke of his pen, Bruce Rauner just told every Chicago taxpayer to take a hike. Bruce Rauner ran for office promising to shake up Springfield, but all he’s doing is shaking down Chicago residents, forcing an unnecessary $300 million property tax increase on them and using them as pawns in his failed political agenda.”
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner offered tax incentives to the giant food company ConAgra earlier this year to entice them away from Omaha, Nebraska and set up shop in Chicago.
According to the Chicago Tribune these tax incentives corresponds with other reports that the owner of popular food brands such as Swiss Miss, Chef Boyardee and Slim Jim is getting closer to making the move to Chicago. The Tribune reports that ConAgra is considering renting a space in downtown Chicago’s Merchandise Mart which can hold upwards of 1,000 employees.
It is not known what Rauner’s incentives to ConAgra exactly were, and his offered was complicated by the fact that he later gave the order to halt similar tax incentives. The Tribune’s source said that the Governor still plans to honor his original offer.
Meanwhile, back in Omaha, where ConAgra has been located for almost 100 years, since 1922, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts is quilting together his own proposal with incentives to keep ConAgra at home despite the fact that his proposal is said to go beyond what the government can legally do.
According to the Omaha-World Herald the governor said:
“We are not restricting this to what is on the books. We are willing to work with them in whatever way necessary to help them be competitive in their industry.”
However the report was not enough to keep ConAgra employees from worrying. In another story from the World Herald it was reported that ConAgra CEO Sean Connolly warned that job cuts are coming, and that some ConAgra employees have even listed their homes for sale.