Greising: Mayor Emanuel, Commit Your Post-City Hall Life to Pension Reform

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed important pension reform for the city and Illinois. He should keep up the fight, even after his mayoral term ends.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

With one foot out the door, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is showing boldness and ambition at a level not seen when he still had elections to worry about.

But just because Emanuel is presenting his ideas at the tail end of his eight-year mayoralty does not mean they should be considered dead on arrival.

Emanuel clearly believes he still has the political juice to bend events to his will — juice a newly elected mayor might not have — on political risks a new mayor might not take. If he’s right, then the citizens of Chicago can count themselves fortunate.

The mayor Wednesday called for a constitutional amendment to help fix the city’s and state’s pension problems and proposed selling bonds — in the past he has floated selling as much as $10 billion in bonds — that he said will lower the cost of paying Chicago’s pension obligations.

The idea for selling bonds, on the bet that the investment return would outpace the interest rates tied to repaying the debt, has appeal on paper. But people in Illinois have been burned by plans like this before.

Read the rest at chicagotribune.com.