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$203 billion and counting: Total debt for state and local retirement benefits in Illinois

$203 billion and counting: Total debt for state and local retirement benefits in Illinois

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State government owes billions of dollars for the pensions and health insurance benefits of retired government workers. Local governments owe billions more. Illinois taxpayers are on the hook for the liabilities of both state and local government.
State government owes billions of dollars for the pensions and health insurance benefits of retired government workers. Local governments owe billions more. Illinois taxpayers are on the hook for the liabilities of both state and local government.

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Published by: Illinois Policy Institute on Jun 20, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/26/2013

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$203 billion and counting:
Total debt for state and local retirement benets in Illinois
June 20, 2012
 
1
Executive summary 
The problem
State government owes billions of dollars for the pensions and health insurance benets of retired government workers. Local governments owe billions more. Illinois taxpayers areon the hook for the liabilities of both state and local government.State government alone owes $83 billion to its pension funds. However, this gure alonepresents an incomplete picture of the retirement crisis because it ignores ve of the sixtypes of debt for which Illinois taxpayers are on the hook. This gure includes only theunfunded liability of the state’s ve retirement systems, completely ignoring bonds issuedto tide over the pension funds and the additional debt taken on to provide retired govern
-
ment workers with generous health insurance. It further ignores all types of local debt,
 
despite the fact that the same people — taxpayers — are on the hook for it.Any solution focused exclusively on the state’s $83 billion in pension debt alone ignoresthe much larger crisis at hand.
Types of retirement debt
State: $152.6 billion
•
State pensions: $82.9 billion -
this is the only type included 
in the $83 billion gure
•
State pension bonds: $15.5 billion
•
State retiree health benets: $54.2 billion
Local: $50.8 billion
•
Local pensions: $38.2 billion
•
Local pension and benet bonds: $1.9 billion
•
Local retiree health benets: $10.7 billionThis is the rst report to give a complete picture of Illinois’ total retirement debt. Alltold, state and local governments in Illinois owe more than $203 billion for pensionsand retiree health insurance. This is more than $41,000 in retirement debt for everyIllinois household.
$203 billion and counting:
 
Total debt for state and local
retirement benets in Illinois

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