Now that his days in office are numbered, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel thinks he knows what would alleviate his city’s burgeoning debt — legalized marijuana and gambling revenue.
As Fox News reports, Emanuel suggested Wednesday that the city opt for legal weed and open a casino.
Emanuel said the debt problems in the city, caused by a pension fund that’s running out of money, is a “flashing yellow light of uncertainty” that prompts worry about the city’s financial future. Rahm mentioned that he has already raised Chicago’s taxes in an effort to tap into more revenue. According to the Chicago Tribune, pension payments are headed for a steep incline and Emanuel is even prepared to amend the state constitution to lower pension benefits for city workers. (RELATED: Rahm Emanuel Scorches Beto 2020 Bid, Calls Him ‘A Loser’)
“For the last seven-and-a-half years, we have worked together to stabilize, strengthen and secure Chicago’s pension funds, from our city’s pension funds, to our schools, to all of our sister agencies,” Emanuel told an audience at City Hall. “Together, we have been addressing this challenge honestly and forthrightly.” (RELATED: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Gets Personal In Immigration Feud With Trump, Tells Him To Get A Lawyer)
Illinois’ incoming govenor, Democrat Jay Robert Pritzker, is amenable to legal weed and a new casino but won’t consider tinkering with pension benefits.
“My commitment is to pay the pensions that are owed to people,” Pritzker told the Associated Press. “I really believe strongly that when you’re promised something, you’ve saved properly in order to pair it up with what whatever you’ve been promised in a pension, that you ought to get that pension and not have it cut.”
Emanuel is leaving office in May 2019. Like many former politicians, he is reportedly interested in pursuing a second career as a cable news pundit.