Pension Financing Shortfall Is a Threat on the Horizon for State

Publication: The New York Times

Author: David Greising


04/23/2010 - In this Tea Party age, when thousands of people demonstrate nationwide against high taxes, the 15,000 people who rallied in Springfield last week tried a change-of-pace chant. “Raise My Taxes!” they shouted at the television cameras and any lawmakers who happened by.

The clamor over the state’s estimated $13 billion budget deficit —and concerns over jobs and spending that prompted the protests — tends to drown out discussion of an issue that economists identify as perhaps the biggest long-term threat to Illinois’s financial health: The state’s shortfall of at least $61 billion in pension funding and the lack of any realistic plan to catch up.

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To date, the state has provided only about 54 percent of the money necessary to meet its projected long-term obligations, according to a study by the Pew Center on the States. But economists who have studied the state’s figures say Illinois’s true obligation to retirees most likely is far larger than official estimates.

Read the entire article Pension Financing Shortfall Is a Threat on the Horizon for State on The New York Times Web site.

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