Springfield Mayor Mike Houston and a group of other Downstate mayors are insisting that if Illinois lawmakers take action to bail Chicago out of its police and fire pension crisis, they must extend the same fix to their communities.
Springfield has one of the most serious police and fire pension problems, with an unfunded liability of more than $230 million. Houston says unless the problem is corrected, the city will have no choice but to either raise taxes or slash services.
The mayors did not offer many specific proposals to fix the crisis, except to say that the current 3% annually-compounded cost-of-living increase for retired police and firefighters must be "decreased." And the mayors agree that the legislature must stop passing laws that further sweeten pensions and drive up costs for local governments.