You may or may not like libertarian politics, but if you want hard facts on the Illinois fiscal crisis you’d be wise to follow the research of the Illinois Policy Institute, a libertarian think tank. Yesterday they published this great snapshot summarizing how bad the real numbers are.
WirePoints recently collected some of the research from outside the state saying essentially the same thing — that the official numbers used by the state are off by at least 100% — the pension hole is twice as large as Springfield is telling us. Remember that this summary and almost all the recent press about Illinois pensions relates to just the five pensions guarantied by the state. But there are over 600 more municipal pensions in the state, most of which are also on life support!
The Civic Committee in Chicago was ridiculed recently by unions and Springfield for its dire assessment of the real numbers. “Just a bunch of rich businessmen” was pretty much the reaction. The Springfield crowd often dismisses the Illinois Policy Institute with the same kind of ad hominem crap — just fringe libertarians, they say. The truth is that the Institute’s researchers are careful, professional and objective. Overwhelming expert opinion confirms the view of the Civic Committee and the Institute that the crisis is far worse than most of Illinois understands. The state is lying to us.
I don’t always agree with their interpretation of their data or their policy response, but here’s what they say about their research and I think they mean it:
The Institute guarantees that all original factual data (including studies, viewpoints, reports, brochures, and videos) are true and correct and that information attributed to other sources is accurately represented. The Institute encourages rigorous critique of its research. If the accuracy of any material fact or reference to an independent source is questioned and brought to the Institute’s attention in writing with supporting evidence, the Institute will respond. If an error exists, it will be corrected in subsequent distributions. This constitutes the complete and final remedy under this guarantee.