The state's budgeting process and debt management fall to the governor's administration — with a majority vote of the General Assembly needed to approve a budget and a three-fifths supermajority to approve new borrowing — but both officers offer a voice that carries weight on state finances, ratings, and policies.
With the final approval of its first new mortality tables since 2000, the Society of Actuaries (SOA) has officially revised its benchmark for calculating the financial liabilities of U.S. pension plans.
Detroit is bankrupt, the pension fund is short, benefits are being cut and one of the pension system’s members is suing their actuarial firm, contending it used faulty methods and assumptions that “doomed the plan to financial ruin.”
Expect these kinds of lawsuits in Illinois if there is no real pension reform.
While there are other detractors around the proposed 47-mile road south of Chicago into Indiana, Paul Fisher’s distaste for the project is notable since the real estate executive was an early advocate for building it.
lllinois’ working-age adult population, from which the workforce is drawn, has grown by nearly 300,000 since the start of the recession. Despite this growth in the working-age population, the Illinois workforce has shrunk by 226,000 over the same period. This leaves a gap of more than 500,000 working-age Illinoisans who either dropped out of the workforce or never entered it.
Two reports released late last week question whether the rewards are proportionate to the risk. They show that unpensioned teachers can be outstanding, and that upfront cash may function more efficiently as a hiring incentive.
But how much will this cost taxpayers? From the Tribune: "Without knowing where Amazon intends to build in Illinois, it is impossible to tally the millions the company would receive in state tax credits for the estimated $75 million investment here."
A survey of more than 1,000 voters by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University found 71 percent of registered voters favor increasing the state's $8.25 per hour minimum wage to $10 per hour.
With a projected start-construction date in the second quarter of 2015 and a 2017 in-service target, the line is expected to open access to about 1,000 megawatts of added generation, mostly from renewables and largely from wind.
It's been suggested that North Korea and Cuba be preserved in their present form as museums documenting the folly of communism. By that logic, Republicans might want to lose the governor's race in Illinois so it can go on illustrating the dangers of untrammeled Democratic rule.
The Illinois Supreme Court could decide whether a move to save more than $1 billion per year on teacher and worker retirement costs is legal, leaving the next governor to determine what, if anything, to do next.
The November election is "also a referendum on whether voters ought to hold this state's politicians to their words." Governor Quinn, Senate President John Cullerton and House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie all lied about the last tax increase.
The increase of $528 million represents only a 1.5% increase in spending. However, the State’s General Funds revenues are projected to decline by $1.7 billion, or 4.6%, to $35.1 billion from $36.8 billion. The enacted FY2015 budget additionally includes borrowing $650 million from other State funds to make up for some of the lost revenue.
Comment: Surely this isn't true because our governor has been saying he cut spending, right?
"Handing out millions in taxpayer funds with few questions asked means there's little risk for companies to begin far-fetched projects that may never be completed. That was the case with a coal-to-gas plant that failed in 2012."
Two-thirds of Chicago elevators were not inspected at all in 2013 — and 62 percent of safety violations uncovered over the prior eight years went “unresolved”—according to a “worrisome” audit released Wednesday.
A completed high-speed rail corridor between Chicago and Detroit could boost round-trip passenger train service between the two cities from the current three daily trips to 10 by 2035 at speeds of 110 m.p.h., according to preliminary planning on the project.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said 3,000 out of 10,000 inmates need mental health care and pinned the escalating situation on closures of mental health facilities that led to increased incarceration for those suffering from illness and ballooning costs for a jail un-equipped to treat them.
Earlier this month, Inspector General Joe Ferguson faulted the Chicago Department of Transportation for exercising “benign neglect” in its oversight of a red-light camera contractor at the center of a bribery scandal, allowing both suspicious ticketing spikes and equipment failures that may have cost the city millions to go unnoticed.
Comment: A misguided waste of taxpayer money. A private sector company, TripThru, has already built a universal solution that's available at no cost to the city and uses private sector apps that already are built, instead of competing with them. See our article here.
The Chicago Housing Authority will require its contractors and subcontractors to pay their employees a $13-an-hour minimum wage, and it will simultaneously open all three housing assistance wait lists for the first time ever.
The pastor, who has appeared in a political advertisement backing Rauner, says he received threatening messages by phone and over social media on Friday because of his support for Rauner. In one audio recording that Brooks shared with WGN-TV, a caller left an expletive filled message in which she called "Uncle Tom" and Rauner's "puppet."
Only $2.4 million of the $27.3 million the fare hike would generate next year would go toward the purchase of new rolling stock. The rest would plug holes in the 2015 operating budget, including almost $20 million in increased wages and benefits. Metra's operating expenses are going up 6.4 percent, well above the rate of inflation.
UIC plans to submit a lofty proposal to create an Obama presidential library corridor, using public transportation to link its Near West Side academic campus to a desolate site in North Lawndale that has been devoid of new development for nearly a half-century.
Comment: Here in a suburb next to Evanston, a common joke is to look for a white Evanston sticker on the windshield when you see a driver oblivious to traffic around them and clueless about how things work.
And, no surprise, their police and firefighter pensions have a total unfunded liability of $158 million -- less than half of what they should have.
How could the treasurer of an Illinois town with an annual budget of $6 million to $8 million steal over $50 million in two decades? Dixon embezzlement provides the toolkit, or the perfect storm, for fraud.
You may be surprised to learn that fiscal year 2013’s full payment of about $6.0 billion was nearly $3.5 billion less than what was required to simply hold the end of fiscal year 2012 pension debt level where it was, even if all else went as expected. In other words, the “full” payment was less than 2/3rds of the payment necessary to maintain the debt status quo.
UPDATE: The author, Mr. Madiar, contacted me, very politely I would add, and suggested I review the more detailed version of his article, which is linked here, and it has a a much lengthier history of the underfunding as he sees it.
"Bruce Rauner's campaign was not only right to challenge the merit of publishing a poorly sourced story that served a purely political purpose but also to bring up the possible connection between this "war on women" article, its accompanying ad campaign and the wife of the reporter who essentially crafted the very concept of such a campaign."