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Chicago Pension Bill to Cost $500 Million, Daley Says

Chicago may face the biggest property tax increase in its history, according to Mayor Richard M. Daley, under a bill passed by Illinois lawmakers requiring greater contributions to police and firefighter pension systems.

The third most-populous U.S. city may need to boost real-estates taxes by more than $500 million a year, Daley has said. The plan, which the Democratic mayor opposed, would apply to all new public safety hires in Illinois.

The bill approved today by the state Senate was sent to Governor Pat Quinn for signature. Kelly Kraft, a spokeswoman for Quinn, a Democrat, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

The longest recession since the 1930s reduced Chicago’s revenue by more than $1 billion, forcing the city to dip into reserves and cut spending on a 2011 budget of $6.15 billion.

Standard & Poor’s cut Chicago’s credit rating on Nov. 5 by one level to A+, the fifth-highest investment grade, citing the city’s reliance on cash reserves to balance its budget.

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