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Category: Press Releases

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“All this legislation sought to do was allow these firefighters to transfer the pension contributions they previously made to a different system. The measure would have had no effect on the state budget. The firefighters paid for and earned these benefits.” - State Senator Bill Cunningham

CHICAGO – A measure that would allow Chicago firefighters to transfer credit from previous service to their current pension was vetoed by Governor Rauner, marking the third time the governor has vetoed legislation designed to protect the pensions of Chicago firefighters and police officers.

Under House Bill 688, Chicago firefighters and paramedics who served with a suburban fire department would be allowed transfer their previous service credit to the Firemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago. The bill passed the legislature with strong bipartisan majorities earlier this year, but it was vetoed by the governor September 15th.

State Senator Bill Cunningham, the legislation’s sponsor in the Senate, said that he is troubled by the veto because it will continue to allow firefighters to be treated differently than other public employees. Most teachers, state workers, and municipal employees are allowed to transfer pension service time if they move from one district or agency to another.

“Many firefighters served for a few years with suburban departments before joining the Chicago Fire Department,” Cunningham said. “All this legislation sought to do was allow these firefighters to transfer the pension contributions they previously made to a different system. The measure would have had no effect on the state budget. The firefighters paid for and earned these benefits.”

Rauner's veto of HB 688 is just the latest in a series of legislation designed to protect the benefits of Chicago police officers and firefighters that the governor has fought. Previously, Rauner vetoed a bill designed to refinance the police and fire pension funds' debt and direct more city revenue to the funds.

Rauner also vetoed a bill to improve survivor benefits for the spouses of new officers and firefighters enrolled in Tier 2 pensions. The same veto sought to block officers and firefighters born after 1955 from receiving modest cost of living adjustments that were granted to older pension members.

Each of Rauner's previous vetoes of Chicago police and fire pension measures were overridden by the legislature. Cunningham said he would work with the House sponsor of HB 688 in an attempt to override the governor's veto again the fall.

In order to override the veto, both chambers of the General Assembly would need a three-fifths vote.

Category: Press Releases

2017PropTx22CHICAGO – Every year, hundreds of properties in Cook County are lost by homeowners to so-called "tax scavengers," who buy houses at auction when the owner fails to pay property taxes. Oftentimes, homeowners are caught off guard, having missed their property tax bill in the mail or because they failed to keep up with confusing paperwork.

“Too often, homeowners find themselves in crisis because they didn't realize their property taxes went unpaid," said State Senator Bill Cunningham. "Senior citizens are most susceptible to this problem because their mortgages are more likely to be paid off, so a bank is no longer ensuring the taxes are being paid through an escrow account."

In Senator Cunningham’s district alone, there are 6,211 property owners who are past due on their property taxes, according to records maintained by the Cook County Treasurer’s Office. Of those, nearly 800 are senior citizens.

“If you don’t know your status, please check with the Cook County Treasurer’s Office,” said Cunningham. “This is an easy problem to avoid with a quick phone call or by spending some time on the treasurer's website.”

The County Treasurer can be reached at 312-443-5100 or at cookcountytreasurer.com. To more quickly navigate the treasurer's website, you should obtain your property's 14-digit Property Index Number here by providing the address. The property's tax payment status can be check by entering the PIN here.

Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago.

Category: Press Releases

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 18th District
311B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5145
(217) 782-2115 FAX
 
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10400 South Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60643
(773) 445-8128
(773) 672-5143 FAX

16033 S. 94th Avenue
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(708) 233-9703