News Roundup: Chicago pensions could be insolvent

Chicago's pensions are facing insolvency based on the city's current and projected obligations, Chicago Tribune reported today. Firefighters, teachers, police officers and other city workers might find themselves in financial dire straits upon their retirement due to a draining of the system to meet short-term budget needs. Among the costly decisions made by city officials were annual salary increases granted to union members, increased benefits to retirees in the 1990s and early retirement incentives as a means to trim the budget. The investigation found that taxpayers could be on the hook for $20 billion to $40 billion.

 Also in the news...

  • The Chicago City Council voted 43-7 today to pass Mayor Richard M. Daley's 2011 budget, which dips heavily into the city's reserves. In order to buoy the city's ability to spend next year, close to $300 million will be sucked from money garnered from the parking meter and Chicago Skyway deals. The city currently faces a $600 million budget deficit.
  • Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said "there's a good chance" that his legislative chamber will pass a bill honoring civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. The bill's supporters want to see it signed by Gov. Pat Quinn before the end of the year.
  • Three men are accused of running a ponzi scheme "that used a pillar of Islam," as a hook, according to Tribune. Salaman Ibrahim, Mohammad Akbar Zahid and Amjed Mahmood were shareholders in the bankrupt real-estate firm, Sunrise Equities, which used Shariah law as sales pitch.
  • A nationwide fund to compensate victims of improper foreclosures is being set up, The Washington Post reported today. Attorneys general from several states are working to set up a fund that would, in essence, provide homeowners who can prove their homes were wrongly foreclosed upon with a settlement. In turn, the banks would avoid additional, potentially lengthy lawsuits.

-Compiled by Nicholas Moroni

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