By: Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner

Shrinking local tax revenues as a result of COVID-19 means hundreds of Illinois municipalities are likely to underfund their public safety pension plans this year. That’s sure to push many of the state’s 643 local pensions closer to insolvency. More than 200 of those plans were less than 50 percent funded even before the pandemic hit.

That may soon pit two sets of local government officials against each other: pension fund trustees who are responsible for keeping the funds healthy vs. city officials who’ve underfunded pensions so they can have enough cash to pay for their active public safety workers and other services.

The more the pension funds get shorted, the more trustees could be impelled to demand full payment from their sponsoring cities.

To do that, there’s a little-known law that can help trustees get the funds they’re owed. Illinois’ “pension intercept” law, passed in 2011, gives trustees the power to demand the state comptroller garnish a municipality’s tax revenues so they can be handed over to the pension fund.

Since its implementation in 2015, the intercept law has been used to garnish funds from three of the most economically depressed cities in the state: Harvey, North Chicago and most recently, East St. Louis. Wirepoints covered the details of those intercepts in the following reports: Harvey, the first domino in Illinois; Beyond Harvey: Many Illinois municipalities running out of options; and Third domino falls: Illinois Comptroller set to confiscate East St. Louis revenues.

Other cities may suffer the same fate due to the financial damage that’s been done to both their cities and pension funds. Without pension reform, local funds will either end up closer to insolvency, or city services will go unfunded in an attempt to keep failing public safety pensions afloat.

The potential for more pension intercepts

A new Wirepoints analysis of the most recent Department of Insurance pension data found that 351 of Illinois’ 643 downstate public safety pension funds did not receive their full contributions in FY 2019, the latest year of full data available from the state. That means over 200 sponsoring Illinois municipalities failed to meet their obligations to at least one public safety pension fund. (There is some controversy over what constitutes a contribution shortfall for a pension fund. See the Appendix below for more information.)

It’s likely those same cities, and many more, also shorted their contributions in FY 2020, putting them at risk of having their revenues intercepted.

The shorted pension funds received a contribution that was, on average, 20 percent smaller than the required payment calculated by the Department of Insurance. Some contribution shortfalls were negligible, while others were far more significant. For example, the village of Rantoul shorted its contributions to its police fund by over 75 percent.

In dollar terms, the shortfalls ranged from just a few dollars to over $4 million each for both Rockford’s police and firefighter funds. Below are the 20 most-shorted pension funds in 2018, by dollar amount.

Unsurprisingly, pension funds in struggling cities like North Chicago and East St Louis made the list. But so did funds in larger and more stable cities like Springfield, which shorted its police fund by $1.3 million, and Peoria, which shorted its police and firefighter funds by a total of $2.7 million as compared to the DOI’s required contribution.

Click here for the full list of city contribution surplus/shortfalls to local public safety funds in 2019.

Funds approaching insolvency

The pension intercept has been used as a last resort of near-bankrupt funds to extract money from their financially-struggling city in every case so far: Harvey, North Chicago and East St. Louis.

But the current economic downturn could very well bring a host of additional Illinois cities and pension funds down to near-insolvent levels. In FY 2019, nearly a third of Illinois’ public safety funds were already less than 50 percent funded. Many simply struggled to tread water at the height of the longest market bull-run in history.

Illinois’ downturn will inevitably drive many more funds closer to zero. Couple that with the fact that many are located in some of Illinois’ economically worst-off cities that haven’t provided full contributions in years, and the potential for more intercepts is higher than ever. Some of the worst-funded pensions are listed below.

Illinois’ worsening downstate pension crisis

Many will want to blame underfunding as the cause of Illinois’ local pension crisis. But it’s really ballooning pension promises that have created the problem, same as at the state level. Public safety pension promises have swamped local communities and taxpayers’ ability to pay for them.

In 1987, municipalities owed a total of $2.6 billion in total pension benefits to public safety workers and retirees across the state. By 2018, that number had jumped to $28.8 billion – an increase of over 1,000 percent. By comparison, the state’s economy only grew by 278 percent over the same time period.

And it’s not as if taxpayers didn’t try to keep up with funding. Illinois police and fire pension assets, buoyed by taxpayer contributions, grew 730 percent over the period.

Larger salaries have made the pension crisis even worse by inflating the size of police and firefighters’ pension benefits. Average downstate and suburban public safety salaries in Illinois have grown nearly 60 percent since 2005, to nearly $90,000 from under $57,000. That’s more than double the growth of ordinary Illinoisans’ earnings, which have only grown 25 percent over the period.

Those ever-growing salaries and benefits have forced taxpayers to pour hundreds of millions of dollars more into local pensions over the past decade, only to watch the health of those funds deteriorate. Despite a tripling of taxpayer contributions and the massive stock market rally since 2005, police and fire pension shortfalls nearly tripled to $13 billion in 2019. The collective funded ratio of the funds has also fallen to 55 percent, down from 62 percent in 2005.

In all, the number of local pensions with funded ratios below 50 percent has doubled since 2005, to 200 funds from 100 funds. Pension trustees are more likely to resort to intercepts as the funds they’re responsible for reach critical levels.

The local crisis is inevitable without reforms

The intercept law is not a solution to the state’s local pension crisis. It’s a zero-sum game – simply moving limited local revenues from one line item to another fixes nothing.

Major pension and labor law reforms could help ease municipalities’ pain, but state politicians refuse to even consider changes. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has gone as far as categorically rejecting an amendment to the pension protection clause in the Illinois Constitution.

Nor will politicians give cities the power to pass reforms themselves. The state continues to control all pension, collective bargaining and prevailing wage laws, leaving local governments with little influence over their own costs. State lawmakers won’t even give insolvent municipalities like Harvey or East St. Louis the option to declare bankruptcy – a tool that is the last hope for dozens of broken Illinois cities.

The only likely near-term outcome? Lawmakers will either stand by as intercepts cut into core services across the state, or they’ll move to suspend the garnishments, essentially telling police and firefighters their retirement security doesn’t matter.

Read more about the crisis facing Illinois cities:

***********************

Appendix. Details of Illinois’ pension intercept

There has been some controversy as to what constitutes an underpayment to a public safety fund under the current intercept law. Some arguments have been made that the DOI-calculated required contribution should not be used to determine which funds have been shorted, since the law allows for funds and cities to use independent actuaries to calculate the required payment amounts.

The below includes a description of the intercept law as well as a review of how the required contribution for cities is determined.

Under a state law passed in 2011 and updated in 2015, downstate and suburban police and firefighter pension funds that don’t receive their actuarially required annual contribution from their municipality can demand the Illinois Comptroller ”intercept” some of the municipality’s state-based revenues and send an amount equal to the missing contribution over to the fund.

From (40 ILCS 5, Art. 3 and 4)

If a participating municipality fails to transmit to the fund contributions required of it under this Article for more than 90 days after the payment of those contributions is due, the fund may, after giving notice to the municipality, certify to the State Comptroller the amounts of the delinquent payments, and the Comptroller must, beginning in fiscal year 2016, deduct and deposit into the fund the certified amounts or a portion of those amounts from the following proportions of grants of State funds to the municipality: (1) in fiscal year 2016, one-third of the total amount of any grants of State funds to the municipality; (2) in fiscal year 2017, two-thirds of the total amount of any grants of State funds to the municipality; and (3) in fiscal year 2018 and each fiscal year thereafter, the total amount of any grants of State funds to the municipality. The State Comptroller may not deduct from any grants of State funds to the municipality more than the amount of delinquent payments certified to the State Comptroller by the fund.

1. The DOI “actuarially determined contribution” calculation for cities serves as a public standard across the 643 pension local pension systems, but some funds and/or cities don’t use the contribution calculated by the DOI. Instead, the law allows them to hire their own actuaries to determine what the city should pay.

From (40 ILCS 5, Art. 3 and 4)

The city council or the board of trustees of the municipality shall annually levy a tax…equal to (1) the normal cost of the pension fund for the year involved, plus (2) an the amount sufficient to bring the total assets of the pension fund up to 90% of the total actuarial liabilities of the pension fund by the end of municipal fiscal year 2040, as annually updated and determined by an enrolled actuary employed by the Illinois Department of Insurance or by an enrolled actuary retained by the pension fund or the municipality. In making these determinations, the required minimum employer contribution shall be calculated each year as a level percentage of payroll over the years remaining up to and including fiscal year 2040 and shall be determined under the projected unit credit actuarial cost method.

Of course, any fund that receives a contribution larger than the DOI-calculated amount is by definition not deemed by Wirepoints to have been shorted.

The problem arises when some pension funds receive less than the DOI-calculated contribution amount as a result of using an independent actuary. Because those independently-determined contributions are lower than the DOI-calculated amount, Wirepoints’ may be overstating the number of officially-shorted pension funds because we count those funds as being shorted.

However, the appropriateness of those independent actuaries’ assumptions is an open question. The pension statute’s actuarial requirements/standards, used by the DOI, are already lenient: i.e., only 90 percent funding by 2040, PUC cost method. If the fund’s independent actuary requires a lower contribution than the DOI actuary’s calculations, that likely means it used even more lenient assumptions and could be in violation of the rules in Illinois’ Pension Code.

There is also the issue of determining a standard when there are multiple actuary valuations. There can be up to five different calculations for what a city is required to contribute: one calculation by the pension fund’s actuary, one by the city’s actuary, one by the unions’ actuary, one by the DOI actuary, and, when those are in dispute, a calculation by an actuary set to mediate between the different parties.

In the end, the determination of whether a fund has been shorted or not is ultimately decided by the Illinois Comptroller’ office when it certifies or does not certify a pension fund’s intercept request.

2. Illinois’ list of 643 local pensions includes 99 Fire Protection Districts (FPDs) that are not funded through city contributions. The FPDs have a much harder time benefiting from the intercept law as very little, if any, of their funding comes from revenues that can be intercepted by the state. 

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nixit
14 days ago

The pension consolidation bill from last year increased Tier 2 benefits by changing the final average salary calculation to us the highest salary from 4 of the last 5 years, instead of the average of the highest 8 of the last 10 years. No doubt there will be more Tier 2 enhancements in the years to come. So it’s not gonna get any better.

Admin
14 days ago
Reply to  nixit

Exactly right. Keep in mind that reform applied only to local Tier 2 pensions, which are a pretty small part of the Tier 2 problem. They made the minimal change possible to keep that unfairly inadequate program from running afoul of federal requirements. What will be the cost for fixing Tier 2 for the rest of IL pensions? Nobody is saying. They surely have a number but never provide it.

nixit
14 days ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Yep. I once asked one of the pension funds if they do pension liability projections based on assumptions of increased benefits for Tier 2. They basically told me to screw off.

Unfortunately, the pension clause in the state constitution makes any pension enhancement permanent. There are no takebacks on that final average salary calculation. They’d better be right.

Last edited 14 days ago by nixit
Douglas
15 days ago

I’ve researched what firefighters and police in the city I reside in make (for full disclosure I worked as a part time firefighter on an all part time employed department). The starting pay was acceptable, but I seen 100K-120K per year after 5 years.

You wouldn’t shop at jewel if they charged you 20.00 for a loaf of bread, but when government gets unreasonably priced, you’re just supposed to keep handing over money. The monopoly of government means there isn’t an incentive for value.

Juicy Smollier
15 days ago
Reply to  Douglas

Let’s be frank, Fire is the most overpaid by far and it’s not even close. Rarely in any line of fire, usually doesn’t matter if they are there on time or late, same with EMS (mostly druggies), work 3 days a week. This is also proved by their having side gigs that were the rest of the work for the week. There are at least 2 times as many fire stations as there should be, to boot. Even though police is overrated too, you are required to have them for deterrence purposes as well. Only school teachers in IL get… Read more »

j
15 days ago

Rights under a “contract” have always been subject to modification under the doctrines of force majeure and impossibility. Unfortunately, venal humans must judge whether a doctrine applies. There are no more venal and craven humans than politically elected judges beholden for their own salaries and pensions to the other public employees who elected them. All spouting that “it’s a promise.” There should be enough voters who are taxpayers to change things through democratic processes. It’s a bit like the 2nd Amendment argument that the way to stop a criminal with a gun is to deploy a good citizen with a… Read more »

Riverbender
15 days ago
Reply to  j

Contracts? In Illinois? Tell that to a landlord that can’t evict their so called tenants that won’t pay or how about a lender trying to garnish wages finding out all the excluded item in Illinois proceedings. Contracts in Illinois…only for the priveleged.

Juicy Smollier
15 days ago
Reply to  Riverbender

Wow, nailed it. But judge and lawyer Pritzker-gold-a-witz makes the final decision.

Joey Zamboni
15 days ago

Can we expect the same analysis of teachers pensions…?

Judges pensions…?

Politicians pensions…?

You can’t just demonize public safety pensions…

The Truth Hurts
15 days ago
Reply to  Joey Zamboni

Those are state pensions. No need for an “intercept” of state funds because they are already at the front of the line and the state has more ability to raise taxes than municipalities.

Flash413
15 days ago

The state has more ability to raise taxes than the taxpayers have the ability to afford them. Besides, the unions paid good (bribe) money for those contracts.

John
15 days ago
Reply to  Flash413

The Truth Hurts seems to think people can pay infinite taxes, but he is obviously wrong. I would guess he is either a public union worker or is married to one. He is math challenged, and he glosses over the fact more and more people are leaving the state each year. He also likes to ignore that defaulting on bonds actually dooms the pensions. Oh, and state services must be met through federal law in various ways. Once the pensions go insolvent they will either be bailed out or cut, one or the other. Taxpayers don’t have the means to… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by John
The Truth Hurts
15 days ago
Reply to  John

Such a lazy argument John. I guess when I post that I disagree with the progressive tax then I’m a “corporate shill” or part of the “billionaire class”. No I’m just somebody that points out the true situation. Please show me where my statement is lacking in fact. Those pension are state pensions. True No need to intercept. True. Are they supposed to intercept from themselves? State has more ability to raise taxes than municipalities? True Where did I say the state can raise infinite taxes? Didn’t happen. What I have said many times is that the state will continue… Read more »

John
15 days ago

Seems to me we are there Truth. Illinois has the highest tax burden in the nation, just got its FAIL tax rejected majorly with no current plans to bring it back, and very high property taxes go up every year on people with not much money. We also have high sales taxes, and our flat income tax is not low. So, I think we are there. You act like we have thirty more years of this, but reality, with the virus, says more like five at most. Have a good day. No point in arguing when we disagree this strongly.

The Truth Hurts
15 days ago
Reply to  John

Isn’t Chicago looking to raise property taxes? Isn’t Illinois looking at cutting certain deductions (hint that will increase tax payments) and raising the flat tax? You think taxes can’t go up and I believe they are. We will find out.

On a separate note where did I say anything about 30 years? You seem to be making arguments to statements I haven’t said. There is actually no point in arguing over statements I have not made.

John
15 days ago

You are pointing out the pension funding from 40 years ago and acting like that means they will still stay at 40% now, which isn’t true. You sure seem to think that will go on another 40 years, which both Mark and Ted have said will not happen. Chicago will be bankrupt in 5 years or less. The writing is on the wall. They can raise taxes a little, but not much. People, most people, are nearly tapped out. The virus killed the pension plans much quicker.

Last edited 15 days ago by John
JimBob
14 days ago
Reply to  John

Tapped out is insufficient. Insolvent or bankrupt? They may already be there. But politics prevents an orderly way out. Riots and looting and a full turn-out burn-out between NRA and Antifa might get politicians’ attention. Will Biden mobilize the National Guard to protect the corrupt cities that gave him his ostensible victory?

Virus could actual be beneficial to pension plans [to say the unsayable].

Deep in the Heart
15 days ago
Reply to  John

Once you get out of that corrupt union-controlled dystopia you’ll find life so much better. Trust me – we don’t wake up a single day ever wishing we were back in Illinois.

Thee Jabroni
15 days ago

Im jealous,but bought a townhome about a year ago in this crappy state-buyers remorse times 100!!

Old Spartan
15 days ago

Outstanding research by Wirepoints–again. Where are Crain’s, the Tribune and Suntimes, and all our local news stations on this topic? How about a single politician sounding the alarm full blast? Isn’t there a single so called journalist in this state that can comprehend the magnitude of this problem?

The Truth Hurts
15 days ago
Reply to  Old Spartan

This isn’t the first time WP has covered this issue nor is it alone. Forbes had an article over 2 years ago. Adam Schuster wrote about it 2 years ago over at Illinois Policy. The Tribune covered the intercept for stories covering Harvey. The politicians aren’t sounding alarm bells because they want the law to work exactly how it is working.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/debtwire/2018/05/01/new-pension-intercept-law-puts-distressed-illinois-cities-in-the-crosshairs-for-added-oversight/?sh=7f7d6b3c61d7

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/crowding-out-chicago-pension-fund-demands-intercept-of-state-grant-money/

NB-Chicago
15 days ago

And not a peep of warning from little suzie medoza?? Guess they’re all still banken on georgia senate runoff/ fed bailout

susan
15 days ago

In a football game,1 minute left, opposing team down 5 has the ball on your goal line. What is best strategy? Try to hold the line with solid traditional defense allowed by the rules of the game? Or, is it a better idea to stand aside and let their touchdown be scored quickly, leaving time on the clock for your team to come back and score? In this analogy, it would be better for TAXPAYERS in municipalities and other taxing districts (school districts, fire&rescue) to initiate litigation demanding the intercept process be initiated. Only by standing aside and allowing the… Read more »

Freddy
15 days ago
Reply to  susan

Good analogy. There is another possibility but it may be harder to achieve but not impossible. Our state listens only to public unions. What do public unions have in common that taxpayers do not? They are organized with dues paying members that can afford the best lawyers which in turn can get proper legislation passed to meet their demands or to get the right politicians in office. We as taxpayers are only individuals with limited resources and have no access to behind closed doors negotiations. For example if we want to protest our assessments we either do it ourselves or… Read more »

susan
15 days ago
Reply to  Freddy

the answer: “Uber-ize” taxpayer whistleblowing/litigation-in-self-defense.
I have a template, preliminary legal opinion and wireframes, seeking a tech co-founder.

The Truth Hurts
15 days ago

This article is for all the people that believe the financial struggles of our cities will be paid for by pensioners. If anything this law puts pensioners in front of non-securitized bondholders. It puts them in front of current services. Look at Harvey bondholders fighting for 10 cents on the dollar and the number of city employees that have been released. Too many commentators on this site look at Illinois financial problems and can’t wait to watch pensioners lose their retirement. As I’ve been saying all along they will be the last ones to feel the pain. Does Illinois get… Read more »

NoHope4Illinois
15 days ago

Local governments have made promises they refuse to keep it seems. From salary.com, the average salary for a firefighter and policeman in Indianapolis, IN is $46,263 and $55,917. Likewise in Des Moines, IA it’s $45,853 and $55,500. If municipalities downstate and in the suburbs are having to cut services to pay for police and firefighter pensions, then voters should ask why the Mayors and city councils there insist on paying public safety employees +70% above the going rate. Till then, the Municipality must pay for their promise.

The Truth Hurts
15 days ago

I agree that municipalities can fight to lower employee salaries. This is something well within their control but it doesn’t happen. Voters don’t reward this behavior so it’s not done. Look at the last contract offered by CPS to CTU. The city couldn’t afford it but it had many supporters in the city. If it didn’t these people wouldn’t continually get elected. Instead of cutting salaries it’s actually easier to lay off employees and claim it was caused from the rich not paying their fair share. Then during the next contract you hold out for more employees. See CPS contract… Read more »

Riverbender
15 days ago

Real estate confiscation via the tax system is also a possibility. It truly is scary out here yet so many laugh it off ignoring the truth of the situation.

LessonLearned
15 days ago

By definition, a bond holder is accepting a defined level of risk with the investment. Anyone that lends money knows there is a risk of not being paid back unless the loan is secured. Public pensions are a promise/contract by government to pay for past performance. Risk really isn’t part of the conversation. I would therefore assume the courts would hit the bond holders hard before going after the pensions. The taxpayers are %^&%^ no matter what happens. If you reside in Illinois, you accept the risk. If you leave, the debt is forgiven. Personally, I think that’s more than… Read more »

The Truth Hurts
15 days ago
Reply to  LessonLearned

Completely agree LL. It’s nice to see other comments that are grounded in reality.

Curious
15 days ago
Reply to  LessonLearned

Just wondering- after you default on bonds, who do you think will buy them to fund the next year’s budget? And how will you then continue to pay the payments due to the pension funds?

LessonLearned
15 days ago
Reply to  Curious

No one will buy the bonds. The pensions will be reduced. It’s no longer a question of what will happen, only when and how much. Math doesn’t lie. It’s about the only thing in Illinois that doesn’t lie.

Curious
15 days ago
Reply to  LessonLearned

Of course no one will buy the bonds, and of course the pensions cannot be paid. So why not admit that instead of completely destroying the economy in hopes of avoiding the inevitable?

John
15 days ago
Reply to  Curious

Yep. Anyone saying the pensions aren’t doomed to cuts without a bailout is someone living in denial, and also most likely a public union stooge.

John
15 days ago

But in time so many people leave the state it still can’t pay its bills, the state defaults on bonds, no one buys bonds from the state anymore, the bonds that propped up the pensions aren’t there, the pensions collapse and go insolvent, and the pensions are cut at the federal level due to bankruptcy allowance being passed for states. It’s either a state bailout or bankruptcy – that is all that is left for the bloated pensions. It’s going to happen, one way or another. The pensions still lose. The state must have services, and everyone knows taxes can’t… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by John
The Truth Hurts
15 days ago
Reply to  John

When so many people leave the state that revenues decline then you will be right. Until that day taxes will continue to increase. In 2010 Illinois had 12.84 million people vs 12.67 million in 2019. That’s a decline of 170k residents. In 2011 Illinois implemented a tax increase from 3% to 5%. While the tax had a sunset provision it was eventually made permanent at 4.95%. Total annual Illinois revenue rose from 27 billion to 48 billion. Illinois personal and business income taxes rose from 11 billion to 27 billion. So Illinois raised taxes, lost 170k residents and also increased… Read more »

John
15 days ago

The 40% funding is going to be 0% much sooner than you think. The virus will kill the pensions. They will be bailed out or cut, one or the other. And there is really no way to argue that. People will be leaving Illinois more than ever now. People hate Illinois with a passion more than ever where I live, and many will leave. Also, we don’t have to share in anything if we move. Also, taxes cannot go up forever, which you obviously don’t want to admit. People have to live you know. Taxes are about tapped out. Property… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by John
The Truth Hurts
15 days ago
Reply to  John

The 40% funding is going to be 0% much sooner than you think.”

When John? What’s your prediction?

Also, never said taxes could go up forever. Please practice your reading comprehension.

John
15 days ago

Once the state hits junk, and before the collapse, they will start paying less and less into the pensions, it will drop rapidly to zero if no help arrives in less than a decade. The unions will also start seeing massive layoffs, and will demand reform. They just want theirs now, they won’t care about the already retired. They also know the end is coming, they are just putting it off as long as possible.

Wagoner
15 days ago

The Truth Hurts seems to not want to face the truth. I mean, most people I know are barely getting by now. Taxes can’t go up much on most. John is right. The pensions are sure to go insolvent before the next decade is done.

The Truth Hurts
15 days ago
Reply to  Wagoner

I don’t have a pension and have saved for my own retirement since my early 20’s. I also don’t think I’ll hang around Illinois after retirement but I’m also realistic to know that most people talk about leaving and yet most stay. I have no problem facing the truth. I know that taxes will be increasing. You think taxes won’t and can’t increase much more. It’s my opinion it is you and John that aren’t facing the truth. I think you are both down right adorable. It’s almost like you haven’t lived in Illinois very long. No need to argue… Read more »

John
15 days ago

The state can’t pour more money into pensions if it can’t provide basic services. We are closing in on that now. If the pensions go insolvent then the state will have no way to make up the money that was to come from investments, on top of the money it already couldn’t pay. It will be game over for the pensions then. You are biased and wrong. The state would have to have no services and no one leaving to be able to function that way, and of course that won’t happen. Plenty of people are leaving, and more and… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by John
John
15 days ago

P.S. Your wife has a state pension though, doesn’t she? That is why you are always here arguing against reality and math. A state of 12 million people isn’t going to be allowed to collapse for pension plans that were made by corrupt criminals. 50% of the budget will never go to pensions, and once pensions totally run out of money for the state, you can bet there will be no extra cash to save them. The truth really hurts.

NoHope4Illinois
15 days ago

The good news is the DOI is watching and there is a law to intercept state monies to meet the obligations municipalities have made to their employees. I think the intercepts should be automatic from the DOI and municipalities can challenge those intercepts and present the real evidence that they should be handed back. Seems like there needs to be a LOT of intercepts this year!

LessonLearned
15 days ago

Once again Wirepoints does the job the mainstream media should have done. As I see it, the problem is two fold. Illinois/Chicago has too many former/current public employees and over compensates those employees. It’s that simple. The cause of the problem must be correctly identified. Most people fail this task as they falsely identify symptoms as the cause. In this case, a symptom is the cozy relationship between the public employee unions and unethical political leaders (usually democrats). The short sighted comments which call for the dismissal (recall, firing,…) of the political leaders are failing to identify the core problem.… Read more »

Eugene from a payphone
15 days ago

In the 80’s, when the stock market was doing well, I was a delegate to the CPS pension fund for the school where I worked. Foolishly, I actually read the pension rules and financial statements. Any excess earnings from the small per cent of fund money invested in the stock market ( say earnings above 3%) was to be used to reduce the school district’s required contribution to the fund. I quickly found other private sector employment to escape this scam. Now I fear there is no escape other than flee Illinois. The tax payers left here will be footing… Read more »

Juicy Smollier
15 days ago

I think this is accurate. But it may be an issue of getting paid back with inflated dollars. First, though, local services will be cut and violence will increase. Thanks unions/pensioners.

15 days ago

Bet the City Managers have their pension funds fully funded. You do not see these cities cutting back on perks the so called leadership keeps giving themselves.