Candidates discuss Illinois’ unfunded pension debt



Candidates for Illinois governor are taking different approaches on how they’d tackle the state’s unfunded pension liabilities.

Illinois has among the most unfunded public sector employee pension liability. State numbers indicate around $151 billion unfunded, but some place like the American Legislative Exchange Council place the debt at $533 billion.

State Sen. Darren Bailey, who’s running against incumbent Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, said he’ll use reduced state spending to pay down pensions.

“We’ll find the fat in the budget and we’ll begin to apply that to get this pension situation under control, but first and foremost, I will be sitting at the table with pensioners,” Bailey, R-Xenia, told The Center Square. “I fear that the pension debt may be that large looming problem that will sneak up on Illinois if we continue to ignore it as J.B. Pritzker has.”

Pritzker touts on his campaign website “fully funding pension contributions” as a way to reduce state pension liabilities, “going above and beyond with payments and expanding the employee pension buyout program.”

Pritzker’s campaign did not return requests for an interview.

Author(s): Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 2 Nov 2022

Publication Site: The Center Square

Lightfoot messages indicate how flippantly state government stuck Chicago with higher pension cost – Wirepoints Quickpoint



You may recall earlier this year when the General Assembly passed a bill that Gov. JB Pritzker signed to increase certain pension benefits for Chicago firefighters. The new law is expected to cost Chicago some $850 million and could drop the funded status from what was an already abysmal 18% down to an even-worse 16%.

Well, it appears that Illinois Senate leadership didn’t even bother to talk to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot before mandating that additional burden.

The Chicago Tribune has released Lightfoot email and text messages it obtained on a number of matters. One went from Lightfoot to Senate President Don Harmon. “A courtesy call regarding the fire pension bill would have been helpful, particularly since there is no funding for it,” Lightfoot said. “When that pension fund collapses, I will be talking a lot about this vote.”

Author(s): Mark Glennon

Publication Date: 31 Dec 2021

Publication Site: Wirepoints

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s Budget Plan Won’t Push For An Income Tax Hike For Next Year



Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s 2022 state budget proposal won’t include an income tax hike, but it will seek the elimination of $900 million in business tax credits and aims to hold spending at current levels, the governor’s office said Tuesday.

The Democratic governor will present his budget outline on Feb. 17. It’s Pritzker’s first spending plan since the November defeat of his constitutional amendment to impose a graduated income tax.

The outline he will present to lawmakers for the state fiscal year that begins July 1 includes a $3 billion deficit – less than the $5.5 billion originally forecast.

Author(s): Dave McKinney, Tony Arnold

Publication Date: 9 February 2021

Publication Site: WBEZ