Saturday, March 28, 2020

Beyond Harvey: Many Illinois municipalities running out of options – Wirepoints Special Report

Wirepoints has performed an analysis of 180 Illinois cities with both a dedicated police and fire pension fund, examining their finances and their pensions. The findings, which will be released in a forthcoming paper, are alarming. Look at the numbers – at the collapsing funding ratios, broken budgets, and unsustainable tax burdens – and anyone can see that many cities aren’t far off from a breaking point.  

Harvey, the first domino in Illinois: Data shows nearly 400 other pension funds could trigger garnishment – Wirepoints Special Report

You’d be mistaken to think Harvey, Illinois has a unique pension crisis. The mess is everywhere, from East St. Louis to Rockford and from Quincy to DanvilleA review of Illinois Department of Insurance pension data shows that Harvey could be just the start of a flood of garnishments across the state.

Illinois’ regressive pension funding scheme: wealthiest school districts benefit most – Wirepoints Special Report

The state's teacher pension funding scheme, where one unit of government doles out benefits while another one pays for them, has destroyed accountability and driven up taxes on struggling Illinoisans. And it’s regressive. Rep. McSweeney is wrong to ally himself with the IEA to block a pension cost shift.    

Why Rauner’s failures justify a reform agenda in Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s leadership failures have deflated the political pressure for reforms in Illinois. But his inability to change anything, ironically, only strengthens the case for structural reforms. The longer Illinois’ status quo policies remain in place, the more this state will continue to decline.

Springfield fiddles while Illinois cities burn – Wirepoints Special Report

Special report: Decades of state mandates have pushed up costs, taxes and debts to unsustainable levels for many cities. They’re either at the brink of bankruptcy because of unfunded pensions or have lost people and businesses due to high taxes and fewer services. The most unfortunate cities, like Danville Illinois, are suffering from both.

Why Chicago’s Lightfoot should push for a pension amendment, not tax hikes – Wirepoints Special Report

If reports of Lightfoot’s plans are true – that she wants to increase taxes and push debts off further into the future – then it’s clear she doesn’t intend to fix Chicago’s problems. If she did, she would instead push for an amendment to the Illinois Constitution’s pension protection clause and take a hard line on contract negotiations.

Illinois owes $68 billion in health benefits to government retirees. Politicians haven’t set aside a penny to pay for them – Wirepoints Special Report

Pensions get all the attention when it comes to Illinois’ collapsing finances. But there’s another government-worker benefit also wreaking fiscal havoc – free and heavily-subsidized health insurance for retired state workers, teachers and community college employees. Illinois owed more than $68 billion in retiree health benefits to state workers as of 2018.

New IRS data release: Record losses of taxable income and taxpayers for Illinois – Wirepoints Special Report

Illinois’ new decade is starting off with the same bad news the state struggled with throughout the 2010s – the increasing flight of Illinoisans to other states. The IRS has just released new domestic migration data and it shows Illinoisans left the state in record numbers.