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Ted told WJPF all about how much retirement debt Illinois households are really on the hook for: downstate households owe $75,000 and Chicago households owe nearly $150,000. Those are impossible numbers for Illinoisans to pay.

Ted also talked about the new benefits state AFSCME members will receive if the union ratifies its new contract with the state. Stipends worth $2,500, guaranteed raises, and new benefits were all included in the state’s new budget.


Read more about the state’s pension debt, the budget and the AFSCME contact:


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Cass Andra

I expect it’s worse per person than these numbers indicated because the liability is, in effect. joint and several. That is: if you can pay, you must pay. If you can’t pay (like a large percentage of voters) then –well– you probably won’t have to pay because part of what is being paid is probably “owed” to you in welfare payments, food stamps, medicaid etc. Pushed to its logical conclusion, it doesn’t stop until the pensioners have everything they have been told to expect and the rest of us are bankrupt.

Mark M

Cass – great point. I wonder what the actual debt figure is per household when households that actually can pay are taken into account. If Romney’s 47 percent figure (those who don’t pay taxes) is accurate in Illinois, the per household debt burden is even more absurd than described. Throw in n even a modest exodus rate of taxpayers, and the problems boggle the mind. I laughed when three guys affiliated with the Chicago Fed recently proposed a significant property tax levy for many years to cover the pension debt under the guise that the state has to seize the… Read more »

Cass Andra

Like a jury trial, lawyers for each side tell the story for their own client. You aren’t supposed to lie but you don’t have to tell the whole truth in an advocacy system. However, in a jury trial, supposedly, twelve disinterested people make a decision. It’s sort of like democracy which Churchill called a bad system but better than any other devised by humans. However, with pensions the jury consists of highly pensioned legislators and judges who will be goring their own oxen if they issue a disinterested opinion. Part of the concept of “due process” is that the defendant… Read more »

Illinois Entrepreneur

It is a rare voter who is educated and truly understands the issues, like you do. Our system (even to the colonial days) has always been a sound bite/headline influenced democracy, and good politicians take advantage of that for better or mostly worse. The vast majority of voters in Illinois aren’t even aware that there is a pension crisis, and many more aren’t aware of who’s pulling the strings and how it affects them individually. If they are “aware” they see it as abstract and not important enough to get involved. Therein lies the problem. The unions take advantage of… Read more »


What I still don’t comprehend is how is it that 2 entities- the politicians and public unions negotiate contracts and benefits mostly behind closed doors and that 3rd party (taxpayers) are then responsible? How and Where in the Illinois Constitution is this law and is it even legal. In no way shape or form can I get a mortgage or auto loan and bill it to my neighbors without them co-signing. I do not remember that taxpayers co-signed by voting (which then could be a legal contract?) for this on any ballot. Does anyone have an old ballot that taxpayers… Read more »

Illinois Entrepreneur

Freddy, I think you’ve written posts like this before. We certainly agree on politics, but I still don’t understand why you don’t understand what “representative government” is. When you vote, you are voting for someone that you are entrusting with all of the above responsibilities on your behalf. Because we are a democratic republic, once those people are in office, they formerly hold the power of the government purse via the Illinois Constitution. As long as you live here, you are responsible to dutifully obey whatever laws and acts they pass.

It’s really not that difficult.


Illinois- Thanks for your comment.Sounds good in theory. I do understand how the democratic process SHOULD work but does not in many cases. Upwards of 60% of candidates run unopposed in many elections so are basically self elected. It it hard to lose if you are the only one on the ballot. With redistricting or gerrymandering it almost impossible to vote for your party if you live in a district that has the majority from the other side. District lines should not be drawn to favor any party but almost always are for either party in power. Voters choice would… Read more »

Illinois Entrepreneur

I completely agree with you on the sham that is Illinois’ “democracy.” This seems an intractable problem, as obviously no one has solved it. And you are absolutely right that there are too many ‘unopposed’ elections with sham candidates.

I wish I had a good answer on that, but I don’t. The only thing is organize grass roots (Lincoln Lobby) and effect change or to give up and plant roots somewhere else. Many more seem to be choosing the latter.


It’s the same problem the ancient Greeks had with democracy: it only works if a sufficient majority of the people are educated enough to keep the train rolling. Otherwise, the wheels just fall off, as it did then and as it has now here in Illinois


Your right. Have you heard of Jim Tobin from He has a video from a Berwyn townhall meeting of about a few hundred people there protesting the school districts large rate increases and raises when their tax rates are sky begin with. He asked the crowd how many got tax increases of $1K all the way to 7K for some.. We need more of that. Search Tax protest meeting Berwyn on his website.


It’s not impossible to pay off. They will take all of your money and then your car and home until it’s paid. Because remember, the retired fire dept guys all have boats and they spend their summers up north fishing. Someone – you – are constitutionally required to pay for that. Do you spend all summer fishing in your boat up north? I sure as heck don’t.


Bend over if your not a state worker voting for JB…