December 3, 2014
The Civic Federation supports the Chicago Park District’s proposed FY2015 operating budget of $448.6 million that accommodates increased employer pension contributions mandated by the District’s 2014 pension reform legislation while holding the property tax levy relatively flat and expanding programming.
The Civic Federation strongly supported the District’s work with its labor partners, the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor to enact comprehensive pension reform legislation in 2014. As a result, the Park District Pension Fund’s unfunded liability has already been reduced by $109.4 million, or 18.5%, and the actuarial funded ratio has increased by five percentage points to 45.5%. Prior to the reforms, the fund had been projected to run out of money within 10 years.
As this budget shows, the enactment of pension reform legislation is only the first step in a long process to stabilize the severely underfunded pension systems of our state and local governments. While pension contributions were accommodated for FY2015 without a major tax increase, the Civic Federation urges the District to develop a publicly-available long-term financial plan that will accommodate future pension contribution increases and work toward completely eliminating the remaining structural deficit.
The Chicago Park District’s fiscal year begins January 1, 2015 and ends December 31, 2015.