The massive lie about Illinois' pension indebtedness

It’s $327 billion–more than twice what’s habitually reported

Illinois Policy reports:

Illinois’ pension debt reached an all-time high of $317 billion as of June 30, 2020, according to credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service – more than double the state’s official estimate….

Illinois’ pension crisis has been rated the worst in the nation, measured by pension debt relative to state gross domestic product, since fiscal year 2014. Pension debt increased 19% from $261 billion at the end of fiscal year 2019.

Official reporting of pension debt by the state of Illinois puts the debt at less than half of Moody’s estimate, $144.4 billion at the end of fiscal year 2020. State estimates use much more optimistic, and less realistic, assumptions about investment returns.

This is so frustrating, because even up to now, the media routinely report $144 billion as the accurate figure. Why, I don’t know, when the Moody’s figure is no secret.

But here’s the rub: It will take a constitutional amendment to get a grip on the pension disaster, but Democrats who are the the government employee unions’ lickspittles, block it. Yet, the same lickspittles are pushing a constitutional amendment that would permanently increase the unions’ powers.

Hail, Illinois.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: Illinois pensions


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  • What did Dirksen say, Couple million here, couple of million there, soon it’s just a number. Well, now it’s ten billion here and hundreds of billions there, whatever the number is, no one really seems to care except the rating agencies. So, the pols just say they’re exaggerating and ignore them. Can’t cross the unions.

  • Sigh, another copy and paste from the ultra-right Illinois Policy.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Sigh. You are so predictable. Can you for once respond to the substance of the argument instead of using labeling?

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    "Democrats who are the the government employee unions’ lickspittles"--is this the substance of your argument? Is it not using labeling?

  • In reply to jnorto:

    This was fact-checked and found to be true.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    What has he written that isn't pure truth, jnorto?

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Opinions and political philosophies are one thing, cold numbers are another, whether from Moody’s, IPI, Wirepoints, or the IRS. Whose numbers do you trust, Moody’s or the state of IL? Are you denying the numbers are not in the hundreds of billions of dollars? Are you denying that pensions aren’t at the core of the deficit and that the unions haven’t blocked or denied every effort at pension reform or constitutional amendment?

  • In reply to Get out of IL now!:

    Then why doesn't Dennis argue these numbers and cite their source, instead of parroting a political propaganda organization? And why doesn't he talk about the years of inattention through Republican as well as Democratic state administrations, along with lax budgeting practices by school boards and local governments throughout the state? Why doesn't he talk about the state constitutional burden which could not be shrugged off when the bills came due, specifically Article XIII Section 5?

    No, Dennis' schtick is pejorative invective.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    And your schtick is obfuscation and diversion.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Did you read the article? The numbers don’t come from IPI, IPI cites Moody’s and they say $317 billion. IPI then cites the state numbers at $144.4 billion. The numbers are not from a political propaganda org as you say. Shoot the messenger? As for the Republicans, they have had no power to change anything since George Ryan and he had to give in to Madigan and the Dems. And don’t forget, IL has more units of government than any other state, with no desire to eliminate any of them, thus sucking even more money out of the taxpayers to the benefit of the bureaucracies.

  • I know your game is to blame it all on Democrats, but the biggest increase in pension indebtedness is attributable to the "Edgar Bump" in 1994, for which Republican governor Jim Edgar gets the credit. Google it.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Sorry, that's the "Edgar Ramp."

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Get real. Edgar left office in the last century. He was abetted by Michael Madigan and Emil Jones. Republicans, including Rauner, have realized for at least the last 15 years, the error of that ramp. They've tried pension reform (with Rahm Emanuel) and the Democratic IL Supreme Court shot it down. They've advocated for a constitutional amendment, Madigan shot it down. At least the Republicans realize the mistake and have tried to change it. Where are the Democrats?

  • It was , if I recall correctly, a 40 or 50 yr. ramp fund only to 80%. It didn't take for our gerrymandered incumbent elected officials to start taking pension holidays. So much for a semi-reasonable plan that went quickly off the rails. The economy forecasters with their sugarcoated rosy economic growth forecasts for the state...remember, they are bureaucrats...served to give the legislature the wiggle room to start hedging the mandated payments. It is all "play money" to these incompetents.

  • So the pension debt is either $11,000 per Illinois citizen or $24,000 per Illinois citizen.

    How many of you defenders of either number are ready to write either check, for you and the rest of your household members added up?

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