Emanuel to face money woes as Chicago mayor

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As for the underfunded pensions, Mr. Emanuel said he wants to “preserve” the pensions but may seek to negotiate changes. He insists the city can solve the problems without a confrontation like the one in Wisconsin, where tens of thousands of people have been demonstrating outside the Capitol to protest anti-union budget cut legislation. “We have to find, I think, common ground and a sense of hope,” he said during a campaign stop this week.

Still, some Chicago officials say the pensions will be hard to finesse. “This mayor is going to have to find a way to balance that, too, in a way that doesn’t alienate our city workers, who are incredibly hard-working folks,” Alderman Sandi Jackson said.

Already, various unions are bracing for a fight. More than a half-dozen unions endorsed Mr. Chico, including the police and fire unions.

Mr. Emanuel also has talked about expanding the city sales tax to include more services while lowering its overall rate, but he’ll need approval from the state General Assembly.

Many voters hope Mr. Emanuel’s clout in national politics will help him find outside avenues for help. President Obama expressed support for Mr. Emanuel when he left the White House, and heavy hitters in the political and entertainment communities contributed to his campaign.

“He’s (got) political savvy. He’s politically tied in. That’s important to me because he can get things done,” said Ralph Vallot, 57, dean of students at a Chicago high school.

Loren Miller, 65, who is retired and served as an election judge at a Michigan Avenue polling place, said it’s a turning point for the city. “The future’s going to be interesting. This is going to be a tough period of time for the city,” Mr. Miller said.

Associated Press writer Deanna Bellandi and Carla K. Johnson contributed to this report.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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