Police Chief calls state pension proposal a 'tragedy'

By Anna Yee

May 17, 2012 Updated May 17, 2012 at 9:58 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- One of the issues is finding the money to make the state's annual contribution to teachers' pension fund.

The latest proposal is to take hundreds of millions of dollars from the cities.

That would come out of their corporate PPRT, or personal property replacement tax.

In Peoria, that helps fund police and firefighters' salaries.

If the state takes that money, some of those jobs may be on the chopping block.

"I think it would be a tragedy for the cities," said Chief Steven Settingsgaard, of the Peoria Police Department. "It seems like when Peoria is kind of having a decent year financially and department heads like myself are hoping to have more of a normal budget cycle this year, now all of a sudden we may be faced with a 6 and a half million dollar deficit or so, timing is horrible. I think the state needs to look elsewhere."

"It doesn't matter what the number is," said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis. "It's our money. It was designated to the cities when they first instituted a statewide corporate tax, and we don't feel like we should be allowing them to pay their bills with our money."

The state has to come up with more than $5 billion for all public pensions next year.

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