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Quinn promises pension announcement Monday afternoon

Calling it “an important bill,” Gov. Pat Quinn promised an announcement by Monday afternoon on whether he will take action on a Chicago pension bill pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Quinn made that promise after an unrelated immigration reform event at the University Club in the Loop on Monday.

The Chicago pension reform bill increases employee contributions by 29 percent and reduces employee benefits.

Quinn has until Monday to sign it, veto, issue an amendatory veto or do nothing and let the bill take automatic effect.

Last week, Emanuel sounded more hopeful than ever that Quinn will sign the bill, which sets the stage for a $250 million property tax increase over five years, increases employee contributions by 29 percent and reduces employee benefits to save the Municipal Employees and Laborers pension funds.

“The governor understands how important pension reform was for the state and that’s equally true for the city’s future,” Emanuel said last week. “I believe he sees that and understands that, which is why he pushed for the state reform, which is why I’ve pushed for the reform for the city. It secures [the retirement] of 61,000 people and, since it deals with 52 percent of our unfunded liability, it secures our future as well,” the mayor said.

“We have to make sure also that the city’s fiscal house is in order, just like it was essential for the state,” Emanuel said. “And I believe the governor understands that. . . . The city’s economy is starting to slowly but surely come back. The worst thing to do is not address the challenges we have.”