Plain English and Visual Guides to Illinois Pensions

April 16, 2015

The Civic Federation has developed a set of two primers on public employee pensions in Illinois as a concise and accessible presentation of the most important data on the state's pension funding crisis. The primary document, A Plain English Guide to Public Employee Pensions in the State of Illinois, answers ten basic questions about Illinois pensions including: 

  • What is a public pension?
  • How does a defined benefit pension work?
  • Who pays for pension benefits?
  • How do we measure public pension fund financial health?

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.

Click here or below to access the visual guide.

Together, the primers include definitions of commonly used pension funding terms, explanations of pension funding best practices, an update on the status of pension funds in Illinois and a series of pension funding recommendations from the Civic Federation and the Society of Actuaries' Blue Ribbon Panel on Public Pension Plan Funding.

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. The Civic Federation's blog and Twitter account also provide ongoing analysis and coverage of government finance issues in Illinois.

The Civic Federation would like to express its gratitude to the Chicago Community Trust, whose generous grant made the research and development of this report possible.