A new study from the public finance watchdog group Wirepoints, is raising further questions on the lack of progress on state pension debt in Illinois. According to the Wirepoints investigation, Wirepoints reviewed 175 of the largest cities across Illinois based on ten equally-weighted metrics, comparing finances of municipalities between 2003 and 2019. Metrics used included the funding ratio of each local pension system, pension debt of households, and costs of pensions from city budgets. Of the 175 municipalities reviewed, 102 municipal pension funds received a failing grade.
Among the more notable findings in the Wirepoints study:
- Workers’ retirement security has declined in an alarming number of Illinois cities.
- City taxpayers have increasingly paid more to pensions over the past 16 years, and yet the pension shortfalls they are on the hook for are far larger today.
- Pension costs as a share of city budgets have doubled.
- Most local pension funds have more retirees drawing benefits than active workers contributing.