Special Reports

Illinois’ demographic collapse: fewer immigrants, fewer babies and fleeing residents (3/19/19) – Illinois is shrinking. Fewer people are moving here and even more are leaving. Births are down and international immigration has dropped by half. It’s a perfect demographic storm.

Illinois’ crisis: 20 facts Pritzker doesn’t want ordinary Illinoisans to know  (2/12/19) – There’s no argument that Illinois is a wreck. But former Gov. Rauner did not cause that wreck. Illinois was a fiscal basket case long before 2015.

Illinois’ other debt disaster: $73 billion in unfunded state retiree health insurance benefits (12/4/18) – Free and heavily-subsidized retiree health insurance for state workers is wreaking fiscal havoc. Illinois owes another $73 billion in retiree health insurance debt and doesn’t have a single dime set aside to pay it.

What Pritzker’s progressive tax rates will probably look like (10/26/18) – Based on the spending promises J.B. Pritzker made during his campaign, any realistic progressive tax rate structure will have to raise taxes on middle-income earners  

Overpromising has crippled public pensions: A 50-state survey (7/19/18) –Wirepoints 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 just a symptom of the problem.

Illinois state pensions: Overpromised, not underfunded (6/27/18) – Wirepoints found that Illinois promised pension benefits have grown 1,100 percent since 1987, multiple times more than the state budget, the economy and taxpayers ability to pay.

Administrators over kids: Seven ways Illinois’ education bureaucracy siphons money from classrooms (6/27/18) – Illinois already spends more on education than any other Midwest state. It’s just that much of the money is going to all the wrong places. Billions of dollars are being siphoned away from the state’s poorest districts by the state’s burgeoning education bureaucracy.

Beyond Harvey: Many Illinois municipalities running out of options (5/11/18) –Wirepoints has performed an analysis of 180 Illinois cities with both a dedicated police and fire pension fund, examining their finances and their pensions. Look 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 (4/16/18) – 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 Danville. A 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 (4/16/18) – 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.

Why Rauner’s failures justify a reform agenda in Illinois  (2/23/18) – 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 (12/14/17) – 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.