THE ILLINOIS POLICY INSTITUTE
CONTACT: Diana Rickert
data shows total retirement debt is $203 billion
publicized "$83 billion" in state pension debt understates total
retirement debt faced by Illinois taxpayers
CHICAGO (June 20, 2012) – On
the heels of news that Illinois has the worst-funded pensions in the nation, a
report released today by the Illinois Policy Institute shows
that Illinois' retirement hole is even deeper than lawmakers say.
Much of the debate over reforming
Illinois' pensions has focused on the $83 billion owed to state pension funds.
But this is not the only type of retirement debt faced by Illinois
taxpayers. As highlighted in the Institute's new report, state and
local governments in Illinois owe a combined $203 billion for pensions and
retiree health insurance. This is equivalent to about $41,000 in
retirement debt per Illinois household.
"State taxpayers are local
taxpayers. And Illinois taxpayers aren't on the hook for 'just' the $83 billion
that the state owes; they're also facing pension shortfalls borne by local
government. The true cost of Illinois' pension and benefit crisis is $203
billion, or roughly $41,000 per household," said Ted Dabrowski,
vice president of policy at the Illinois Policy Institute. "Any reform
plan being talked about must address this full burden or taxpayers will
continue to be saddled with debt."
The Institute's report is titled
"$203 billion and Counting: Total debt for state and local retirement
benefits in Illinois." It is the first report to put a number to both the
state and local retirement, as well as costs associated with retiree health
care and pension and benefit bonds on both the state and local levels.
Here is the breakdown of retirement
debt from the report:
$82.9 billion state pension debt
$15.5 billion state pension obligation bonds
$54.2 billion state retiree health insurance
$38.2 billion local government pension debt
$1.9 billion local government pension and benefit
$10.7 billion local government retiree health
= $203.4 billion in total retirement debt
The report is available online
FOR INTERVIEWS: Diana Rickert (312) 607-4977
Illinois Policy Institute is a nonpartisan research and education organization
dedicated to making our state a beacon for liberty and prosperity for all
citizens. As a leading voice for economic liberty and government
accountability, the Institute engages policy makers, opinion leaders and
citizens on the state and local level by promoting free market principles and
liberty-based public policy initiatives for a better Illinois. To learn more
about the Institute or review our policy work, please visit: www.illinoispolicy.org.