This is unbelievable.
Mark Brown's column in the Sun-Times yesterday details that almost all the property tax money that the city collects -- $713 million -- goes to pensions and repaying debt.
45 percent of the property taxes go to city employee pensions.
That's more than $300 million.
Not services. Not things that benefit all of us. Pensions.
We could probably buy health insurance for everyone under the age of 30 in the City of Chicago for $300 million (which would bring in tons of jobs and entrepreneurs who could move to Chicago, start a business, and still be insured against medical bankruptcy).
We could fund after-school programs for every child in the CPS.
And this pension income, by the way, is totally tax free from the state income tax.
Meanwhile, senior citizens who have to work after age 65 still pay the 3% state income tax after earning $2000.
And apparently, the Illinois Constitution forbids a city from cutting pension benefits retroactively.
This is such an incredible financial albatross on the city. We have got to do something about this cost.