15% of the state budget in Illinois this year is going toward pensions. That means there's less to spend on other needs.
The gap between what has Illinois promised employees they will get when they retire and what the state has set aside to pay those pensions is $83 billion. State government would have to completely shut down for two-and-a-half years, and use all of that operating budget money on pensions, to pay off that debt.
It's doubtful Illinois' pension crisis will be resolved soon.
Legislative leaders and the governor met Thursday, June 21 to discuss whether the state or local school districts should pay retirement costs for downstate and suburban teachers. The state picks up the tab now, but it doesn't pay for Chicago teachers' retirement benefits.
After the meeting, top lawmakers said they're going to spend five weeks studying school funding equality. Then they'll work on what to do about Illinois' hugely underfunded government pensions.