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.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn unveiled a plan to overhaul the pension system for state employees.
It would force state workers to choose between two plans, both of which would reduce their benefits.
If employees voluntarily go along with the governor's proposed changes, they would have to pay more into their retirement plans, work longer before they retire, and face reduced cost-of-living adjustments in retirement.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said it's time for state lawmakers to "step forward" and rescue the state's Medicaid system, even if requires some painful decisions.
The Democratic governor wants lawmakers to approve his plan for filling a $2.7 billion hole in the system. It includes reducing services for the poor, cutting payments to health-care providers, and raising cigarette taxes by $1 a pack.
In his budget address, Governor Pat Quinn, said three-quarters of Illinois' pension burden is for people who don't work for the state. It covers some of the pension costs for teachers and others who are employees of local government bodies.
State Senator John Sullivan (D-47) said the state must bring all the stakeholders to the negotiating table to find a long-term solution to funding pensions.