The taxpayers of Illinois are buried under the pensions that have been granted to public employees. From Mark Glennon at wirepoints.org:
There’s a lesson here not only about Illinois pensions but about how easily the press will let Gov. J.B. Pritzker thumb his nose at a crisis.
We reported Wednesday that the total unfunded liability for Illinois state and local pensions passed the $500 billion mark. That includes pensioner healthcare liabilities, which are constitutionally guarantied just like pensions. It is based on numbers from Moody’s Investor Services which uses assumptions comparable to those used in the private sector and are less optimistic than those the state uses. Read Wirepoints Special Report: Illinois pension shortfall surpasses $500 billion, average debt burden now $110,000 per household
Greg Hinz at Crain’s asked Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office for a response.
“Pritzker’s office is pushing back on the notion that he’s done too little,” wrote Hinz. “Steps such as discounted buyouts of some pensions have ‘begun to bend the curve,’ with the percentage of total spending that goes to pension now flattening, a spokeswoman says in an email.”
Nonsense. Pritzker has done nothing significant whatsoever to fix pensions and it is particularly dishonest to cite pension buyouts as an example of progress.
Pritzker has long been boasting about pension buyouts but forever refuses to provide any support or analysis showing that buyouts would have any meaningful effect. We and others have written about it repeatedly.
- In 2019 he told The Economic Club of Chicago that some study says buyouts will save “billions and billions,” perhaps $25 billion. But he has never produced that study or anything else to support the claim, and the state’s bond documents said something very different in the debt offering made just prior to that claim. Those documents said just 818 workers and retirees who are eligible for either of the state’s buyout programs had applied for one. That’s less than 2.3%, not 20% as Pritzker told the Economic Club. The documents further said, “The State is unable to quantify the amount or timing of any [reduction in pension liabilities] at this time.” In other words, Pritzker brags about savings to the public but the state says something different when the penalty would be securities fraud.