Civic Federation Blog

03.05.15

Chicago Rating Downgrade Triggers Swaps Terms, Outlook Remains Negative

Even after lowering the City of Chicago’s bond rating another step last week, Moody’s Investors Service maintains a negative outlook on the City, heightening the risk of additional ratings actions and possibly increasing termination costs on its swap agreements. On Friday February 27,...

02.25.15

Chicago Pension Reform Litigation on Hold Pending Illinois Supreme Court Ruling

Two lawsuits seeking to overturn a pension reform law for the Chicago Municipal and Laborers’ funds have been put on hold pending the outcome of State pension litigation at the Illinois Supreme Court. Oral arguments for the State pension case have been scheduled for March 11, 2015. In...

02.19.15

Chicago Public Schools Reports Reduction to Fund Balance

The Chicago Public Schools audited financial statements for fiscal year 2014 released last week indicate the deterioration of the District’s fiscal condition continued through the end of FY2014. The District’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) reports ending...

02.12.15

Chicagoans’ Pension Obligations Per Capita Rose 199.4% Since 2004

The Civic Federation’s previous blog examined the long-term debt of eight major local governments in northeastern Illinois. This blog explores the unfunded pension liabilities of ten pension funds sponsored by local governments in the Chicago area using a per capita indicator based on...

02.03.15

Long-Term Debt for Eight Major Chicago Governments Rises by 59.2% in 10-Year Period

The Civic Federation regularly analyzes and comments on the budgets and audited financial statements of eight major local governments in northeastern Illinois: 1. City of Chicago; 2. Chicago Public Schools (CPS); 3. Cook County; 4. Chicago Transit Authority (CTA); 5. Forest Preserve District of...

01.29.15

Forward Financial Thinking by the MWRD

A 2009 GFOA white paper identified long-term financial planning as the central tool for local governments to become financially resilient. Financial resiliency is characterized by going beyond just financial sustainability to a system that is adaptive and able to sustain external shocks such as an...

01.21.15

Cook County Updates Building Codes in Unincorporated Areas

The Civic Federation’s recent report profiling six townships in Cook County with the largest unincorporated population examined issues related to annexing unincorporated areas. The report described the unincorporated areas and identified many of the barriers that municipalities might face if...

01.15.15

Change in Public Pension Plan Investment Return Assumptions 2001-2013

The Civic Federation and IIFS blogs have written extensively about reductions to assumed rates of return on investment by State and some local public pension plans over the last several years. These changes are part of a nationwide trend, influenced partly by the low interest rate environment...

01.07.15

Annexing Areas of Unincorporated Cook County

Annexation is the extension of municipal boundaries into adjacent unincorporated areas and the corresponding expansion of city services to those newly incorporated areas. In Illinois, municipal governments have the authority to determine and expand their boundaries, subject to the provisions of the...

12.30.14

2014 Year in Review on the Civic Federation Blog

The following posts were among the most highly read on the Civic Federation blog in 2014 and represent some of the most closely followed local government issues this year: Illinois General Assembly Passes Pension Reforms for Chicago April 16, 2014 This blog discussed Senate Bill 1922, which was...