December 5, 2018
The Civic Federation supports the Chicago Park District’s FY2019 proposed budget of $464.0 million because it continues to reduce reliance on prior year fund balance, implement savings and efficiencies and reduce the size of its workforce. Additionally, despite the Circuit Court of Cook County overturning the remaining pension reform provisions of Public Act 98-0622 in early 2018, the District will provide voluntary supplemental contributions to its pension fund in an effort to delay the fund becoming insolvent in 2027 as it is projected to do.
While the District continues to work to improve the sustainability of its pension fund by providing voluntary supplemental pension payments in FY2018 and FY2019, there is still great uncertainty surrounding the outcome of future pension reform negotiations with its labor partners following the Circuit Court ruling. The Civic Federation urges the District to continue working with its labor partners and state officials to develop a new pension funding law that is fair to taxpayers, the District and pension fund participants. Furthermore, the District should disclose its financial forecasts in its annual budget book, which will allow stakeholders to see the future impact of current financial decisions.