Our view: Fiscal news maddens, confuses
Keeping up with all the recent news about Illinois’ deteriorating financial situation can be confusing and maddening.
On Wednesday, the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank, released the results of a study that says state and local governments in Illinois owe more than $200 billion to pension and health care funds for current and future retirees based on current benefits that are in place.
Media outlets, including the Northwest Herald, consistently have reported that the state’s public pension systems are underfunded by about $83 billion. But that number includes only the five statewide pensions systems that serve state employees and teachers. It does not include local government pension systems, retiree health care costs, or the debt on bonds sold to make state pension payments. The Illinois Policy Institute included all these costs, and arrived at the $200 billion figure.
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