Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: “…Best Job I’ve Ever, Had.”
Deborah Bayliss | 4/15/2015, 2:52 p.m.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, now serving his second term following his April 7, re-election, over Cook County Commissioner, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, held a post-election press conference last Wednesday morning at the Carole Robertson Learning Center on Chicago’s west side.
“All of us have our work cut out for us over the next four years…we’re making sure we meet our challenges head on as one city, one Chicago and together we can take on these tough challenges,” Emanuel said. “I believe Chicago has a brighter future if we find that common ground and work together.”
Emanuel said he enjoys campaigning because you hear things that matter to people. He also reiterated his only focus is running the city, addressing rumors that he could end up leaving Chicago to run for a U.S. vice presidency alongside Hilary Rodham Clinton, former secretary of state, who, announced her presidential candidacy on Sunday.
“I’ve been honored to work for two presidents in different positions,” Emanuel said. “I’ve been honored to be in congress. I’ve been honored to get elected mayor and be re-elected mayor. This is the best job I’ve ever had. I have no interest in another job, zero, zilch, none, nothing, ok. I just got hired to do this job and it’s my responsibility to finish this job for the people of Chicago who hired me.”
There was however, some communication with Washington, D.C. via a telephone call from President Barack Obama after the election.
When asked about the conversation, Emanuel laughingly quipped, “He offered me a cabinet job...no just kidding.”
All jokes aside, the city faces serious financial issues.
Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) in Feb. downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1, the rating on the City of Chicago’s, $8.3 billion of outstanding general obligation (GO) debt, $542 million of outstanding sales tax revenue debt, and $268 million of outstanding or authorized motor fuel tax revenue debt.
Moody's, provides international financial research on bonds issued by commercial and government entities.
The agency states further that the negative outlook reflects its expectation that the city's credit quality could weaken as unfunded pension liabilities grow and exert increased pressure on the city's operating budget.
Substantial growth is expected in the city’s unfunded pension liabilities even if the city's recent pension reforms survive an ongoing legal challenge. Court determination that the city's pension reforms violate the state constitution will likely hasten the rate at which unfunded liabilities and pension costs grow. Regardless of outcome of the legal challenges to pension reforms, the agency expect Chicago's unfunded pension liabilities - and the costs of servicing those liabilities - to continue to grow, placing significant strain on the city's financial operations absent commensurate growth in revenue and/or reductions in other expenditures.
To deal with the City’s financial problems, Emanuel during the campaign, called for reforms and new revenues generated from modernizing the sales tax base, the tax increment financing (TIF) surplus system and a Chicago casino owned and operated by the city.