Workers’ compensation is a significant cost to Illinois taxpayers and drains scarce tax dollars from government coffers. A previous report in this series estimated the direct cost of workers’ compensation to state, county and municipal governments is $402 million in worker payouts per year.1 Building upon those findings, this report estimates that the total cost of workers’ compensation to...View Report
Government worker retirement costs and interest on state retirement debt are squeezing out funding for social service providers and taxpayer relief.
Nearly 38 percent of Illinois Teachers Retirement System assets are in so-called alternative investments.
Illinois’ teacher pension system is structured to allow local school boards to agree to generous contracts, knowing taxpayers across the state will foot the bill. This system should change so that local school boards cover their own pension costs. That way, they will bear the full cost of salary increases they decide on, rather than pushing much of that cost onto unaware state taxpayers.
Illinois crafted the solution to its pension crisis nearly 20 years ago. The problem is many lawmakers don’t even know that solution exists. Since 1998, more than 20,000 state university workers have opted into a 401(k)-style plan instead of the traditional pension plan. Illinois’ lawmakers can begin to solve the pension crisis by simply expanding the State Universities Retirement System’s 401(k)-style plan to all state workers.
In 2010, the unfunded debt related to pensions and retiree health care costs for local and state government workers across Illinois was $203 billion, the equivalent of more than $43,000 per household. In just six years, the total debt Illinois households are on the hook for has jumped to $56,000, or 31 percent. That’s a $13,000 increase for each household. Total unfunded debt for state and local governments in Illinois now totals $267 billion.
More than 50 percent of the state’s $4.1 billion budget for public universities is spent on retirement costs alone.
Top school district superintendents have used the sick-leave perk to boost their pensions by $350,000 or more over the course of their retirements.
A golden rule of finance is this: Debt that can’t be paid won’t be paid.
The Illinois Senate’s proposed budget deal is full of tax hikes because it lacks the necessary spending reforms needed to right Illinois’ fiscal ship.
The state’s largest government-worker union just voted to authorize a strike for state workers. The union perpetuates a myth that Gov. Bruce Rauner is waging war on the middle class – all while ignoring that his contract offer to state workers includes benefits unavailable to most Illinoisans working in the private sector.