Debt Forgiveness Won’t Shield Students from Illinois’ Pension Pinch



Families in Illinois are now burdened with the fourth most expensive in-state tuition prices in the nation, and the highest in the Midwest. 

Take U of I’s flagship Urbana-Champaign campus, with base tuition and fees now starting at $17,138 a year. In comparison, a Big-10 education for in-state students attending Indiana University-Bloomington or the University of Wisconsin-Madison costs nearly $6,000 less.

Illinois schools cost more because most other states don’t have Illinois-sized pension debt – most recently estimated at $140 billion by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. 

Illinois Policy Institute research shows state funding has declined for higher education operations by 26%  in real terms from fiscal year 2007 through fiscal year 2022, while spending on university pensions has exploded by 514%.

Another way of looking at it is the State Universities Retirement System pension payments accounted for 9% of the state’s higher education spending in 2007. Today, they account for 44% of total higher education dollars. That translates to $776 million less for colleges and universities to allocate toward services that directly benefit students in 2022.

Author(s): Amy Korte

Publication Date: 14 Sept 2022

Publication Site: Real Clear Policy

Suburban Residents Risk Losing Homes Over Rising Pension Costs



In the 1990s, Illinois property tax bills were around the national average. But in the two decades from 1999 to 2019, we’ve seen a massive 65% increase in residential property taxes, adjusted for inflation. That increase is what drove Illinois to have one of the highest tax burdens in the nation.

The source of Patricia’s – and her fellow Illinoisans’ – property tax pains? Public employee pensions.

More than 70% of Patricia’s property tax bill goes to the school district. While school districts account for a significant portion of property tax bills in localities across the United States, school district budgets across Chicago and Illinois are getting devoured by underwater pension systems.

While the state is responsible for paying employer pension costs for teachers outside of Chicago, rising pension obligations mean more state dollars are spent on pensions, leaving more classroom costs for school districts to fund through property taxes.

Author(s): Amy Korte

Publication Date: 5 September 2021

Publication Site: Riverbender