Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Illinois’ crisis: 20 facts Pritzker doesn’t want ordinary Illinoisans to know

There’s no argument that Illinois is a wreck. But read Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes’ new “budget” report and you might get the impression that former Gov. Bruce Rauner alone caused that wreck. However, Illinois was a fiscal and economic basket case long before 2015 and no amount of anti-Rauner rhetoric should let Illinoisans ignore that reality.

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.

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.

Overpromising has crippled public pensions: A 50-state survey – Wirepoints Special Report

Most reporting usually focuses on the underfunding of state plans and blames the crises on a lack of taxpayer dollars. But a Wirepoints analysis found that it’s the uncontrolled growth in pension promises that’s actually wreaking havoc on state budgets and taxpayers alike. Overpromising is the true cause of many state crises. Underfunding is often just a symptom of the underlying problem.

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.

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.

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.

Illinois’ other debt disaster: $73 billion in unfunded state retiree health insurance benefits – Wirepoints Special Report

Illinois' $130 billion in official pension debt gets 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 retiree health insurance for state workers. Illinois owes another $73 billion in retiree health insurance debt and doesn't have a single dime set aside to pay it.