Pension costs for state government workers reached an all-time high in 2016, consuming 25 percent of the state’s general budget.1 Today, more than $8 billion of the state’s yearly $32 billion budget goes to pay for pension costs, sapping tremendous amounts of money from social services for the developmentally disabled, grants for low-income college students, and aid to home...View Report
The head of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, or IMRF, has dismissed calls for pension reform, disregarding the fact that pensions aren’t manageable, benefits aren’t affordable, and previous “reforms” propped up pensions on the backs of new workers.
The ratings agency cited the city’s “considerable growth” in pension debt in its Oct. 28 downgrade to A3 from A1.
Another credit downgrade shows borrowing, taxes and bailouts can’t fix CPS’ financial crisis, but real structural reforms are needed.
More government workers are taking home massive yearly pension payments as Chicagoans are battered by tax hikes.
Chicago’s pension funds’ debt grew by two-thirds to $34 billion in 2015. That’s $33,000 of pension debt per Chicago household.
A new Chicago financial report shows the city’s total unfunded liabilities have jumped by over $17 billion, growing to nearly $24 billion in 2015 from $6.5 billion in 2014.
A clean stopgap budget – without a bailout for CPS – will help the 2 million Illinois children and families waiting to hear whether school will start on schedule in the fall. And until CPS passes necessary spending and pension reforms, giving any additional money to the system will only reward officials’ mismanagement and reckless behavior.
Pension funds aren’t immune to the volatility of the stock market. Even before Brexit, Moody’s warned that low investment returns are already putting Chicago’s pension funds at risk. A major stock market correction or another recession just might put Chicago and CPS over the edge if their already-underfunded pension systems collapse.
Chicago’s four city-run pension funds’ poor returns on investment in 2015 are a good reminder why defined-benefit pensions are a failure for both taxpayers and government workers.
On May 30, the General Assembly voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to delay payments to Chicago’s police and fire pension funds – at a cost to Chicago taxpayers of an additional $18.6 billion over the next 40 years.