April 23, 2015
This week the Civic Federation released a set of two primers on public employee pensions in the State of Illinois. The primary document, A Plain English Guide to Public Employee Pensions in the State of Illinois, answers ten basic questions about Illinois pensions:
- What is a public pension?
- Who has defined benefit and defined contribution pensions?
- How many public pension plans are there in Illinois?
- How does a defined benefit pension work?
- Who pays for pension benefits?
- How do we measure public pension fund financial health?
- What is the status of state and local pension funds?
- What were the major pension benefit reform efforts in Illinois 2010-2014?
- What are the restrictions on changing pension benefits in Illinois?
- What are the Civic Federation’s pension reform recommendations?
The companion document, A Visual Guide to Public Employee Pensions in the State of Illinois, is an interactive e-book with more condensed and visual answers to the same questions. The e-book features visual representations of pension funding concepts, includes hover-over definitions and is optimized for tablets and smartphones. The following are two sample pages from the Visual Guide. Click on either page to access the full interactive version.
The status of public employee pension funds in Illinois has been at a critical point for many years. We are now beginning to see meaningful legislative action and the resulting court challenges that will determine the fate of these funds and strongly impact their corresponding governments. This process demands concrete data and analysis that presents a clear picture of the current status of these funds, as well as the potential consequences of various actions that could be taken by local governments and the Illinois General Assembly. These primers are designed to be a concise and accessible presentation of the most important data on the statewide pension funding crisis.
For more in-depth analysis of public employee pensions in Illinois, you can read the Civic Federation’s Status of Local Pension Funding reports or State of Illinois budget reports. This blog and Twitter account also provide ongoing analysis and coverage of government finances issues in Illinois.