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Chicago among many Illinois cities in pension straits

Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 10:08 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 2:26 p.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers must approve Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal for fixing part of Chicago’s pension crisis.

But the city is likely the first of many that will be seeking help from the Legislature on employee retirement funds.

Emanuel is proposing raising property taxes and employee contributions while reducing annual benefits to retirees to cut a debt in pension funds covering city employees and laborers.

But the city still faces problems with its police and fire retirement accounts and must come up with a $600 million payment next year.

Many of the state’s larger cities are struggling with underfunded police and fire funds.

Tom Weisner is mayor of Aurora, Illinois’ second largest city.

He said police and fire payments are escalating and reform from Springfield is necessary.

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