Republicans Discuss Need for Pension Reforms

SPRINGFIELD… State Representative Chris Miller (R-Oakland) joined fellow Republican lawmakers and Wirepoint’s Ted Dabrowski yesterday to discuss the plight of Illinois cities brought on by mandates leveled by the State of Illinois. A new Wirepoints study shows that 102 of Illinois’ 175 largest cities are failing to properly fund their local pensions.

“Illinois’ pension mandates continue to burden our cities, leaving them to risk raising taxes, cutting services, and jeopardizing city workers’ retirements,” said Rep. Miller. “This study proves what we have been saying for a long time, Illinois needs reforms.”

Wirepoints analyzed the negative impact of Illinois’ local pension crisis by examining the finances of municipalities in 2003 and 2019. Coverage was restricted to the 175 cities that have independent police, firefighter, and Illinois Municipal Retirement (IMRF) pension funds. Chicago was not part of the study.

The analysis was based on ten equally-weighted metrics, ranging from the funded ratio of each local pension system to the pension debt each household is on the hook for, to the share of city budgets consumed by pension costs. All cities were given an “A” through “F” grade based on a 100-point scale (10 points per metric), with 100 being the best score.

In addition to the 102 cities that received “F” grades in 2019, 64 cities got a “D” grade. Only nine cities received an “A,” “B,” or “C” grade.

“Our cities are struggling under the weight of mandate after mandate. We must stop handcuffing our local leaders. My fellow lawmakers and I urge our colleagues to join us in working toward a pension amendment and other reforms,” concluded Rep. Miller.