Civic Federation Blog

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...

08.14.14

Trends in Estimated Full Value of Real Estate in Cook County

The Civic Federation today released its annual estimate of the full value of real estate in Chicago and the Cook County suburbs. After the rate of decline in estimated property values slowed for the County as a whole in 2011, the rate of decline increased again in 2012. Tax year 2012 is the most...

08.07.14

The Governmental Research Association: A Resource for Non-Partisan, Evidence-Based Public Policy Research

The Civic Federation is a member of the Governmental Research Association (GRA), which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The GRA is the national organization of individuals professionally engaged in governmental research. Organizations like the Civic Federation from around the country...

08.01.14

City Releases Annual Financial Analysis for 2014: Budget Projections Do Not Include Increase in Police and Fire Pension Fund Payments

This week the City of Chicago released its Annual Financial Analysis for 2014. According to an executive order issued by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on May 20, 2011, the Office of Budget and Management is mandated to produce a financial analysis of the City budget by July 31st of each year.  The report...

07.25.14

CPS Balances its FY2015 Budget with Accounting Maneuver that Changes the Time Period Used to Recognize Revenues

CPS is balancing its budget in FY2015 in large part by shifting the time period used to report revenues from 30 to 60 days. This will allow the District to access $648.0 million in revenues that it would not otherwise have been able to use. However, this is a one-time maneuver that cannot be...