Central Illinois cities top list of state’s worst-funded municipal pension systems: Illinois Policy Institute audit

March 4, 2014

Peoria, Decatur and Bloomington have some of the worst funded public pension systems in the state  

PEORIA (Feb. 27, 2014) – State lawmakers spent the last few years debating state-level public pension reform in the capital, but a new study released by the Illinois Policy Institute suggests attention should now be turned to local government pensions for the cities of Peoria, Decatur and Bloomington.

Researchers at the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute studied pension systems of all towns outside the city of Chicago that 1) participate in the IMRF, or Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, 2) have dedicated police and fire pension funds and 3) have a population above 15,000. The study found that the municipal pension funds for Peoria, Decatur and Bloomington all pose “critical risks” to city budgets and are dangerously underfunded. 

“Local governments are trying to plug the holes in their sinking pension systems,” said Ted Dabrowski, vice president of policy at the Illinois Policy Institute and lead author of the report. “But even with record amounts of tax dollars going into local pension funds, the problems are growing larger and taxpayers are footing the bill.”

Here are some highlights from the report, titled, “The crisis hits home: Illinois’ local pension problem”:

  • Peoria and Bloomington residents pay four times more toward city pensions than government employees do, yet those city’s pensions only have about 60 cents for every $1 that has been promised for the retirement costs of city workers.
  • In Decatur, every penny of property tax revenue goes to pay for local government pensions.
  • In all three cities, the average household is liable for close to $4,000 of the public pension fund debt. That number has doubled since 2003

View the full report online here: http://illinoispolicy.org/simplereport/the-crisis-hits-home-illinois-local-pension-problem/

For bookings or interviews with Ted Dabrowski, VP of Policy at the Illinois Policy Institute: (312) 607-4977