“Swansea residents recently got an involuntary lesson in how the all-knowing financial wizards of Springfield have regulated local government pensions into a no-win situation.” Swansea is an Illinois town of about 13,000 near St. Louis with only have two full-time firefighters.

An actuary they hired found that state investment rules and the poor markets pushed the firefighter pension fund from being 90 percent funded to only 48 percent funded. In real dollars, they would need to dump just more than $1 million into the fund.

Comment: Some 650 separate police and firefighter pensions for municipalities large and small across Illinois are struggling with similar stories, with no solution in site.