The Land of Mary Todd Lincoln Spending: Illinois unfunded pension debt reaches new record

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The Land of Mary Todd Lincoln Spending: Illinois unfunded pension debt reaches new record

Mary Todd Lin­coln man­nequin at the Abra­ham Lin­coln Pres­i­den­tial Library and Museum

By John Ruberry

Illi­nois reached a new mill­stone recently – its unfunded pen­sion debt is wal­low­ing at a record $133.5 bil­lion, despite a mas­sive 2017 income tax hike and a boom­ing stock mar­ket. In 2008 that debt was only $54.8 bil­lion. And now 25 per­cent of the state bud­get is allo­cated to pensions.

Do you live in Illi­nois? Have you vis­ited here? Have you noticed more pot­holes on the roads?

The Land of Lin­coln is now the Land of Mary Todd Lin­coln Spend­ing.

Do you enjoy bad news? Then join me in Illi­nois or at least add the state to your online news feed.

Here is some more neg­a­tiv­ity for you: Illi­nois’ spend­thrift new gov­er­nor, JB Pritzker, who as I reported here last week is under fed­eral inves­ti­ga­tion, wants to cut pay­ments into the state’s four pen­sion plans for a few years so Illi­nois can catch up later. Even though Pritzker and his fel­low Democ­rats in the Gen­eral Assem­bly – where the party enjoys super­ma­jori­ties – are plan­ning another income tax hike by switch­ing Illi­nois from a flat tax rate state to one with grad­u­ated rates.

Short­ing pen­sion plan pay­ments and pen­sion con­tri­bu­tion “hol­i­days” are one of the rea­sons Illi­nois finds itself in such a mess.

Can I find more gloomy reports for you? In Illi­nois the worst is always pos­si­ble, if not inevitable. The state’s largest city, Chicago, man­ages – or better-​phrased mis­man­ges–the worst-​funded big city pen­sion plans. Hun­dreds of smaller com­mu­ni­ties have dug their own bot­tom­less retire­ment plan holes too.

As I’ve men­tioned at Da Tech Guy many times, Illi­nois has been los­ing res­i­dents for five straight years. And you can’t blame the weather. All of the states bor­der­ing Illi­nois are growing.

Of course in Illi­nois it is the pen­sion debt that is grow­ing. And its god­fa­ther is Boss Michael Madi­gan of Chicago, the chair­man of the state Demo­c­ra­tic Party and the speaker of the state House for 34 of the last 36 years. He remains the most pow­er­ful Demo­c­rat in the state, yes, even more so than Pritzker.

Decline and fall.

John Ruberry reg­u­larly blogs at Marathon Pun­dit.

Mary Todd Lincoln mannequin at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

By John Ruberry

Illinois reached a new millstone recently–its unfunded pension debt is wallowing at a record $133.5 billion, despite a massive 2017 income tax hike and a booming stock market. In 2008 that debt was only $54.8 billion. And now 25 percent of the state budget is allocated to pensions.

Do you live in Illinois? Have you visited here? Have you noticed more potholes on the roads?

The Land of Lincoln is now the Land of Mary Todd Lincoln Spending

Do you enjoy bad news? Then join me in Illinois or at least add the state to your online news feed. 

Here is some more negativity for you: Illinois’ spendthrift new governor, JB Pritzker, who as I reported here last week is under federal investigation, wants to cut payments into the state’s four pension plans for a few years so Illinois can catch up later. Even though Pritzker and his fellow Democrats in the General Assembly–where the party enjoys supermajorities–are planning another income tax hike by switching Illinois from a flat tax rate state to one with graduated rates. 

Shorting pension plan payments and pension contribution “holidays” are one of the reasons Illinois finds itself in such a mess. 

Can I find more gloomy reports for you? In Illinois the worst is always possible, if not inevitable. The state’s largest city, Chicago, manages–or better-phrased mismanges–the worst-funded big city pension plans. Hundreds of smaller communities have dug their own bottomless retirement plan holes too

As I’ve mentioned at Da Tech Guy many times, Illinois has been losing residents for five straight years. And you can’t blame the weather. All of the states bordering Illinois are growing. 

Of course in Illinois it is the pension debt that is growing. And its godfather is Boss Michael Madigan of Chicago, the chairman of the state Democratic Party and the speaker of the state House for 34 of the last 36 years. He remains the most powerful Democrat in the state, yes, even more so than Pritzker.

Decline and fall.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.