Civic Federation Blog

10.22.14

Unfunded Public Pension Liabilities Nearly $20,000 Per Resident of Chicago

The total unfunded liabilities for the State and local public employee pensions that Chicago residents fund reached $19,579 per capita for fiscal year 2012. That is up from $6,175 per capita in FY2003. Like comparing unfunded liability to payroll, calculating the unfunded liability per capita...

10.15.14

How to Calculate an Effective Tax Rate for Your Community

Since the release of our 2012 Effective Tax Rates report on September 29th the Civic Federation has fielded many inquiries about how to calculate the rates for municipalities outside the study. In response, this blog will go through the steps to calculate an effective tax rate for tax year 2012 (...

10.08.14

Analysis Indicates Strong Fiscal Health for LEARN and Namaste Charter Schools, Mixed Results for Others

An analysis this week released by the Civic Federation uses 13 indicators of financial condition to provide a snapshot of the fiscal health of four Chicago charter schools or networks between fiscal years 2007 and 2011. The analysis indicated strong fiscal health for the Lawndale Regional and...

10.01.14

Effective Property Tax Rates in the Collar Counties

This week the Civic Federation released its annual Effective Property Tax Rates report. The report highlights the fact that in 2012 property tax burdens for many Northeastern Illinois communities rose. While analysis of the report often focuses on the 12 Cook County municipalities included in the...

09.26.14

Pension Funding Basics: Investment Rate of Return

The declining health of public employee pension funds throughout the State of Illinois is primarily due to two causes: inadequate employer contributions over a sustained period and recent investment losses. This blog will discuss the role of investment rate of return in public employee pension...

09.17.14

Pension Funding Basics: Assets and Liabilities

The most basic question about a pension fund is whether its assets are sufficient to cover total liabilities incurred. In this blog post, we examine the aggregate pension liabilities and Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) liabilities of ten large local government pension funds in the Chicago...

09.10.14

Help Us Honor Illinois’ Non-Elected Public Servants

The Civic Federation and the Motorola Solutions Foundation issued a call for nominations this week for the 23rd Annual Motorola Solutions Foundation Excellence in Public Service Award. The award seeks to honor individuals whose exemplary management, leadership, and innovation has led to lasting...

09.03.14

Local Government Consolidation in Illinois: Small Steps in the Right Direction

Some recent progress has been made when it comes to reducing the number of local governments in Illinois. The State of Illinois has 6,963 local governments. To provide context to this issue, the table below displays the type and number of local governments in Illinois compared to other select...

08.26.14

Pension Funding Basics: Unfunded Liabilities as a Percentage of Payroll

The difference between a pension fund’s assets and accrued liabilities is known as the unfunded liability. The unfunded actuarial accrued liability (UAAL) is calculated by subtracting the actuarial value of the assets from the actuarial accrued liability (AAL) of each fund. One of the...

08.20.14

How the Chicago 911 Surcharge Frees Up Additional Funding for the Municipal and Laborers’ Pension Funds

Public Act 98-0641, the City of Chicago’s pension reform bill, originally called for an increase in property taxes to help fund the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund (MEABF) and the Laborers’ and Retirement Board Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund (LABF) of...