Thursday, October 19, 2017

Is Illinois’ New Budget Balanced? Oh, Please. – Wirepoints Original

Remember the surge of relief in early July when so many celebrated passage of a "balanced budget"? Well, never mind.

Court-Ordered Taxes For Pensions Begin In Illinois; Litigation Turmoil Looms – Wirepoints Original

With effective property tax rates already 5.7%, Harvey is a bloodless turnip. Where else will the courts order higher taxes?

Chump Media: Why Sham Votes Happen In Springfield – WP Original

The Wall Street Journal and FOX Business are among those who botched this one worst.

Rahm’s Ramp And The Fate Of Chicago’s Pensions – WP Original

The can has now been kicked on all four city pensions, as shown on the chart.

Plain English Video On Why Phony ‘Balanced’ Budgets Are Key To Our State And Local Fiscal Crises

If you don't know that state and local budgets are deceitful and nearly meaningless, or you don't know why that's so important to understanding our crisis, spend a few minutes watching the video.

Illinois Stumbles Through Fog Towards New School Funding Formula – Wirepoints Original

We know more now, but distortions abound and key points remain unreported or unknowable.

Cook County’s Outrageous Attempt To Charge Plaintiffs $17 Million In Beverage Tax Case – WP Original

Sanctions against the county's lawyers? Maybe, but without a firm and unequivocal decision against Cook County a dangerous precedent will be set.

Education Funding Bill is a Monstrosity of Unknown Proportions – Wirepoints Original

Shame on everybody who has let SB1 get as far along as it has with such little understanding, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Rauner’s New Staff, Extremism and the Stockholm Syndrome – Wirepoints Original

That which can't pass the establishment in the General Assembly and its enablers in the press is "too radical" for Illinois.

The Importance of Being Scared (in Illinois) – WP Original

"If you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up.”

Outrageous Giveaway to Muni Bond Buyers Hidden in Massive Budget Bill – Wirepoints Original

We are being looted. The muni bond industry is going all out to keep raising the credit card limit and sucking every ounce of blood out to ensure it gets repaid.

Speech Muzzlers Triggered: Chicago’s Theater Community On The Attack – WP Original

Together we make great theater -- unless you disagree with us, in which case you're a bigot.

New Study Details How Pensions Exploit New And Younger Teachers – Wirepoints Original

Illinois gets an 'F' as you'd expect, but we have plenty of company on this.

Why You Shouldn’t Believe The Illinois Budget Deficit Numbers Released This Week – Wirepoints Original

True numbers are 2X or 3X worse and show the genuine bind Illinois is in -- not just an ego clash between Rauner and Madigan.

Would Congress Authorize Bankruptcy for Illinois and Other States? Yes, Inevitably. – Wirepoints Original

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. -Arthur Schopenhauer.
And thanks to ZeroHedge for republishing this article.

COGFA: State of IL Revenue Up In May But Still Down For Year – WP Original

Up 7% for the month but still down 3.5% for the year-to-date.

Video: IL State Senator, Clueless About Bill He Sponsors, Blames Questioning On His Mexican Heritage – WP Original

Truth is, most of the rest of the legislature doesn't know what the bill does either. It still passed. Same with most of what they rushed through this week.

Brace for a Major Worsening in Illinois’ Fiscal Crisis – Wirepoints Original

A far deeper crisis for Illinois is inevitable, we've long said, but it's now more imminent because that certainty is becoming more obvious.

New Stanford Study Exposes Illinois Pensions as the Farce They Are – Wirepoints Original

Using a "market value" discount rate, just to keep Illinois pensions from sinking further into debt, the state would have to contribute "well over twice of what it actually contributed." Chicago and Cook County are toast, too.

NOTE TO READERS: New Software and Other Changes

By: Mark Glennon* We've switched over to a new software program, so please excuse us if we are down for a bit and you encounter...

Illinois Isn’t Puerto Rico, But…. – Wirepoints Original

...Stockton and San Bernadino weren't either. Not being Puerto Rico doesn't mean you can't run out of money and go bankrupt. And it doesn't mean Puerto Rico won't frame the debate about how to resolve government fiscal crises.

COGFA: State Revenue Weakness Continued in April – WP Original

Total tax receipts compared to April last year were off 1.3%. However, transfers from the federal government increased, putting total sources $216 million ahead for the month (a 6.5% improvement for the month). For the fiscal year to date, however, the decline remains troubling.

How About an Illinois March for Math? – Wirepoints Original

It’s hard to see thousands of people rallying to the cry, “no unsustainable pension systems,” but it might do more good than yelling about “science.”

Myth on Top of Myth: Illinois’ Bill Backlog and the Temporary Tax Increase – WP Original

"If only Illinois had extended the temporary income tax increase we'd be in good shape." Wrong.

Crony Capitalism’s Latest Scheme for Illinois is Green – WP Original

“Sweet,” the guys who sell renewable energy hardware must be saying.

Sellouts, Handouts and Bailouts: The Illinois General Assembly is Out of Control – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* It's hard to overstate how bad the Illinois General Assembly has become. Let's look at just three sets of bills this session that...

Simple Math Shows Absurdity of Illinois’ Progressive Tax Cure – Wirepoints Original

To pretend that progressive taxes like those proposed in Illinois are the answer, with little else is, is quack demagoguery.

To Grasp Illinois’ Fiscal Predicament, Take Off Six Zeroes – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Billions are harder to fathom than thousands. Former Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger had a good way to illustrate Illinois' financial status: Just...

Is Bankruptcy for States Illinois’ Answer? A Primer. – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Could a formal bankruptcy proceeding for the State of Illinois be the answer to it's fiscal crisis? If you think that's out...

My Near Death Experience – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon* Five years ago this week I almost died off a beach on the Atlantic near Fort Lauderdale. I tell this not just...

A Horrible Bill Illustrates Illinois General Assembly’s Bumbling Dysfunction – Updated – Wirepoints Original

By: Mark Glennon* You might remember when the capitol lights almost were shut off a couple years ago because the bill wasn't getting paid. That...

Study Says Illinois Doesn’t Know All it Spends on Higher Ed. Not Unusual. – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A new study by Pew Charitable Trusts tried to measure how much states spend on higher education. The challenge is measuring spending...

How New Trier High School Educated Us All – Updated – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   UPDATE 3/22/17: On school board member had the courage to dissent, John Myefski. Kudos to him, and regrets for wrongly including him...

Two Sets of Numbers We Want From Illinois. Now. – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   I'm fed up with the entirely fictional debate about the Illinois budget being played out in the press. One cause is the...

Illinois’ Grand Bargain: 12 Bills But One Overriding Question – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Step back from the trees and see the forest as you go through the "grand bargain" legislative package Springfield is considering. The...

‘Like a Broken Record,’ IL State Revenue Dropped Again in February; Downward Projection Expected – Wirepoints Original

By: Mark Glennon* Base revenues for the State of Illinois fell again in February (compared to last Feburary) according to today's report from COGFA, the...

Illinois Bill to Prioritize Bondholders Over the Public Must Be Stopped – Updated – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon* What could be worse than bankruptcy for an Illinois town or city? An assetless bankruptcy. That's when even a formal bankruptcy proceeding can't...

Wirepoints’ Mark Glennon Joins WBEZ’s Tony Sarabia for Discussion on New Trier High School’s Controversial Seminar Day on Racism – Audio

Comment: Special thanks to Joan Oh, on the other side, for being so gracious -- in stark contrast to so many on her side...

The Closing of New Trier’s Mind – Wirepoints Guest

  By: Chris Robling*   New Trier Township High School has been a national model at least since World War II. Today, unexpectedly, it models the nation’s...

Does the Grand Bargain Budget Package Violate Illinois’ Constitutional ‘Single Subject’ Rule? – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   I’ll ask a leading authority on Illinois' single subject rule about it and the “grand bargain” budget solution under discussion in Springfield,...

Bondholders Taking Dibs on Public’s Bones While Illinois Taxpayers Snooze – Wirepoints Original – Updated

  By: Mark Glennon* Most readers' eyes surely glazed over when they read last week about the cat fight between two of the agencies that rate...

Authoritarians at the Gate: How One High School is Ripping its Community Apart – Wirepoints Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Not since the Vietnam War have I seen as much strife and personal hostility within an otherwise friendly community.   Thank the administration of...

Good Move: Former Comptroller Leslie Munger Named Deputy Governor – Wirepoints Original

*Mark Glennon   Governor Rauner today hired Illinois' previous Comptroller, Leslie Munger, as Deputy Governor.   "Deputy Governors" are essentially close advisors to the elected governor. Their duties...

January’s COGFA Report: Further Decline in State Revenue – Wirepoints Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Tax receipts and other revenue for the State of Illinois declined again in January, continuing an ominous trend, according to the monthly...

Mad World: Dysfunctional Thought in a Rigged System — Rep. Jeanne Ives — Wirepoints Guest

  By: Rep. Jeanne Ives*   No one should be surprised that group think instead of rational choices surround the 13 interconnected bills of the “Grand Bargain”...

Mark Glennon Is One Of The Most Dangerous Men In IL – VIdeo – Upstream Ideas

"Glennon's facility with translating the Illinois Ruling Class' fantasy math into the tangible human costs it imposes makes him a dangerous man to Illinois...

Illinois Considers New Tax Called (Are You Ready?) the ‘Business Opportunity Tax’! – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The introductory language in the bill is so perfect. The tax is imposed "for the privilege of doing business in the State."   And...

Horrible ‘Grand Bargain’ for Illinois Budget is Strike Three for Sen. Christine Radogno – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Illinois Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) took the lead with Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) to negotiate the "grand bargain" budget proposal for...

Ignore Meaningless ‘Budget’ Numbers in Illinois’ Fiscal Debate – Wirepoints Original

  By: Mark Glennon* From news reports about the "grand bargain" budget solution on the table in Illinois you might be thinking, “Well, I don’t like...

‘Fake Policy’ on Pensions is a Key Piece in Pending Illinois Budget Deal – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If I offer you an equal trade for something which you are free to accept or reject, have you sacrificed or given...

It’s Happening – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* The figure I deeply admire in The Big Short, Mark Baum (Steve Eisman was his real name), had a simple reaction when...

Illinois Tax Revenue Declining Like We’re in a Recession, Slipped Again in December – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   The monthly report on state revenue was published today for December by COGFA (Illinois' Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability). It's dismal...

Freeze Property Taxes NOW or Illinois Homes Will Become Roach Motels – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A tipping point is at hand in Illinois. It’s the point when potential homebuyers conclude they’ll never cash out whole because of...

Four Ways Illinois Failed to Confront Reality in 2016 – WP Guest

By: Dalton*   Political dysfunction in Illinois runs deep. Chicago is the epicenter of the state’s political dysfunction and from Chicago emanates a broken politics that...

Clueless: Illinois Dems Proudly Celebrate Year’s Legislative Accomplishments – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Illinois Senate Democrats posted their "Top 10 New Illinois Laws for 2017." If it weren't labeled as being for Illinois, you'd seriously...

Another Banner Year for Boneheaded Chicago Leadership: Six Examples – WP Guest

By: Dalton*   The Seinfeld-inspired Festivus holiday has launched a bold new tradition of airing one’s grievances at the end of the year. And a Festivus-style...

Rahm’s Reaction to a Wirepoints Article in Those Personal Emails Tell Us How He Thinks – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   On October 16, 2015 I wrote an article here, The Shock and Awe Budget Address Rahm Should Have Given. It outlined the...

Who is AFSCME at Impasse With? Illinois Taxpayers, That’s Who. – WP Guest

By: Dalton*   All the resources at stake in the AFSCME state union negotiations are extracted from private-sector taxpayers. AFSCME’s high pay, 37.5 hour work-week, platinum...

Manufacturing Job Creation Not Everything: Motivation Also Needed – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   "About a third of our applicants fail the drug test. Another third lack basic life skills -- like showing up for work...

Most outrageous opinion piece of the year on pensions is from pension executive director today – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* I must have fallen asleep outside last night in the -12°. I can't be reading correctly the guest opinion piece in this...

Expansion Coming to Wirepoints — a Note to Readers

  By: Mark Glennon*   Our readership numbers continue to set new records and we're sure grateful for your support. It's especially nice to see the appetite...

The Joke is on Illinois Taxpayers: Dallas and IMRF Pensioner Savings Accounts Compared – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A crisis in the Dallas police and firefighter pension has captured national and international headlines thanks largely to a particular form of...

‘Sanctuary’ Efforts Poisoning Efforts for Real Immigration Reform – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If there's any major officeholder in Illinois in either party who opposes comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to normalization for illegals...

Ominous Decline in State of Illinois Revenue Continued in November – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Total revenue for Illinois continued to decline in November. That's based on comparison of both this November to last November and this...

NBC5 Chicago Spins Saturday Night Live as Real News – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The top listed story on the "News" section at NBC5 Chicago's site right now is headlined, Even During a Security Briefing, SNL's...

Thanksgiving in Illinois: Be Thankful Today is Not Tomorrow Because Tomorrow Will be Worse – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Illinois and many of its municipalities, including Chicago, are bleeding red with no end in sight. It doesn't matter whether one side...

Universities Demanding Place in Election’s ‘Biggest Loser’ Contest – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Nobody should have been surprised. You'd think they'd realize they're admitting their own incompetence. But the supposed scholars in all things pertinent...

Big Implications for Illinois: U.S. Appellate Court Upholds Local Right-to-Work – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a Kentucky county’s right-to-work ordinance, validating enactment of right-to-work at the local level....

Illinois’ True Budget Hole is About 2X What’s Being Negotiated. It Won’t be Plugged. – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Governor Rauner and legislative leaders were widely reported today to be discussing how to fill a budget hole of about $7 billion....

Best of the Web: Trump vs. Political Correctness – Wall Street Journal

Our article on the GrubHub affair is cited in this WSJ article. Our shameless self-promotion here.

Trump’s Likely Impact on Illinois’ Economy, Part 2 – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Yesterday we covered the likely effects on Illinois from Trump's appointment of a ninth justice to the Supreme Court, which are alone...

Yuge: Trump’s Likely Impact on Illinois Economy, Part 1 – the Supreme Court – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Straight to the point, we'll focus in this first part just on the impact of Donald Trump's appointment of a ninth justice...

Maybe the Smarmiest and Most Hypocritical Election Reaction Yet is from Evanston/North Shore YWCA – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* "We need to build bridges.... The more we talk about the divisions, without finding common ground, the more polarized we become as...

Cook County, Your New Soft Drink Tax Will Go Towards Pensions, and Appears to be Illegal – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Cook County on Thursday slapped another $224 million tax on its residents, this time in the form of a "sugary drinks" tax. ...

Election Made You Suicidal? Better to Jump Than Take This Sun-Times Columnist’s Advice – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Neil Steinberg of the Sun-Times yesterday gave his suggestions for folks contemplating suicide over Trump's election. Yes, it was a serious article,...

The Real Lesson in Grubhub CEO Telling Trump Supporters to Resign (Plus an Earlier, Personal One) – Updated – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A firestorm broke out today in the national media over an email by the Founder/CEO of Chicago-based GrubHub, Matt Maloney, to all...

Why This Election Wasted Illinois’ Time – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Regulars here may have noticed there hasn't been much to read in the last couple weeks. The reason should tell you something...

The Last Straw: President of the United States Encourages Illegals to Vote – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   There is no room for any different interpretation of Obama's words. In an interview Friday and now made public, President Obama encouraged...

Not Good: Illinois Tax Revenue Declining – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   This is very bad news indeed. COGFA, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Illinois, just released its Illinois state revenue report for...

My, What an Exceptionally Stupid and Irresponsible Headline Rewrite by Crain’s – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Yesterday, Bloomberg ran a syndicated story under its headline, "New Jersey Tops Illinois as State With Worst-Off Pension System." The story covers...

A Protest I’ll Be Marching In – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   I've never marched in a protest before, but this one's important -- and personal.   A woman in my area has organized a demonstration...

The Usual Suspects Helped Kill the Fair Map Amendment – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Who helped kill the widely popular constitutional amendment to take politics out of how legislative maps are drawn? The assumption all along...

Provoking Violence to Disrupt Political Activity Must be Stopped Cold – WP Original

  What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. -Thomas Paine   By: Mark Glennon*   It's the ugliest and most frightening scandal at least since Watergate, and it's...

Illinois Treasurer Churns $12.5 Billion Portfolio Every 3 – 4 days — $1 Trillion Per Year – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said last week on CNBC that his office does a staggering $1 trillion per year of investment activity....

Either Leslie Munger Stays as Comptroller or a Darwin Award Goes to Illinois – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   There's a referendum of sorts on the ballot next month and it's huge. It will capture the fundamental direction in which Illinoisans...

Time for Illinois to Learn Another Dirty Word: ‘OPEB’ – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   It's an overlooked add-on to our pension crisis, and it's huge. Like pensions themselves, the problem won't be solved until we size...

Clinton vs. Trump: Polls, Focus Groups or Cookie Index? – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   In our endless quest for objective data, I stopped in at Bennison's Bakery in Evanston, IL to get the latest on their...

Junior High Kids Put National Debates to Shame – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Seventh and eighth graders chose the questions for their two candidates for the U.S. Congress in a forum Tuesday evening. Check out...

Illinois Revenue Decline Continues – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The monthly report is now out for September from Illinois' Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. It shows monthly and year to...

Illinois Treasurer Will Punish Taxpayers, Blameless Shareholders and Employees for Wells Fargo Scandal – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs today announced suspension of all State of Illinois business with Wells Fargo.   A number of Wells Fargo employees --...

Catalog of Failure: 21 Ways Illinois Progressives Betray the Poor and Middle Class – WP Original

  "The chief cause of problems is solutions." - Eric Sevareid   By: Mark Glennon*   If Illinois Progressives were true to what they're supposed be about -- helping the...

You’re an Idiot and a Lunatic for Questioning ‘Safe Spaces,’ ‘Microagression,’ Says President of Northwestern – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* Never mind that he's talking about many who his university educated, including me. Any of you who question campus preoccupation with safe...

Oregon Pension Official Reduced to Tears. Illinois Should be So Lucky – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   "Rukaiyah Adams, the normally polished investment professional who is vice chair of the Oregon Investment Council, broke down in tears last week...

Chicago Municipal Pension Proposal Would Worsen Unfairness for New Hires – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Pension excess in Illinois is widely reported -- and accurate. Less known is that, for many at the bottom, the story is...

Should a Trustee of an Underwater Pension Cut Payouts Now to Save for Future Claims? – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   It's a question several readers have asked in various ways, so let me take a crack at it. To illustrate the issue...

A Watershed Recommendation of Bankruptcy for Illinois and Chicago Goes Unnoticed – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* William Isaac knows insolvency when he sees it, and how to deal with it. As Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation...

Chicago’s Municipal Pension Proposal Makes the ‘Edgar Ramp’ Look Like Kansas – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Here's what Chicago taxpayers face under the proposal passed today by the Chicago City Council's Finance Committee, supposedly to stabilize one of...

Shifting Grounds in the Battle Over Illinois Public Pension Assumptions – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   It's truly absurd that actuarial assumptions have become a mortal issue for Illinois state and local government, but that's where our defined...

Past the Breaking Point: Tax Revolts Brewing in Illinois – WP Original

  “What we need is to work in moderation, not in the extreme." -Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan   "Yeah my blood's so mad feels like coagulating." -Barry McGuire,...

Why You Should Love the New Name for Chicago White Sox Home: ‘Guaranteed Rate Field’ – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Don't ridicule the new name for the home field of the Chicago White Sox, formerly, U.S. Cellular Field. It's now Guaranteed Rate...

Illinois Is ‘Draining its Savings Account’? Better Check the Numbers. – WP Original

  "Financial watchdogs" fretting over a "rainy day fund" that's almost meaningless, in more ways than one.   By: Mark Glennon*   "Illinois drains state's savings account due to...

Failure of New Pension Accounting Standards Shows in Chicago Police, Fire Pension Reports – WP Original

  Even under the new accounting standards, Chicago's police and fire pensions are using a single discount rate of about 7.1%, though both are under...

Emanuel Administration Using Repealed Contribution Schedules for Police and Firefighter Pension Numbers – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   In picking which decepton to write about in the City of Chicago's PR offensive last week about the its finances, I'm suffering...

Illinois Congresswoman’s Hypocrisy on $15 Minimum Wage Shows Its Flaw – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon   Hiring a Field Organizer, says a posting by Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky: "Hours are very long and irregular." Responsibilities include maintaining "7...

Chicago’s Friday Bunk Dump – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* Fridays in the summer are a great day to dump news you don't want scrutinized, as reporters will tell you. Today, we...

Pensions, Politicians: Just Publish the Damn Actuary Reports – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Among the most inexcusable and infuriating parts of our pension scandal is the difficulty of getting actuarial reports, which all pensions get...

Cook County Pension Liability Leaps by 130% in 2015 by Switching to New Accounting Standards – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If you follow our pension problems closely, you probably think Cook County faces an unfunded pension liability of about $6 billion, which...

Eternal Doom: The Implication of Democrats’ Legal Positions for Illinois Pensions – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If a leading voice for Illinois Democrats and public unions on the legality of pension reform is correct, this is the consequence:...

Could a Bankruptcy Court Cancel Chicago’s Hated Parking Meter Deal? – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* A bankruptcy filing is the ugly inevitability for Chicago, we’ve said, but here’s one interesting, potential sweetener: Bankrupt municipalities have the option...

As City, CPS Face Budget Gaps, Bankruptcy Option Looms: WirePoints’ Mark Glennon on Chicago Tonight, WTTW – Video

Not an option, but a sad necessity. I repeat my challenge that I've made repeatedly here: Show us the alternative.

Rahm’s Excellent Perpetual Money Machine – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Why didn't somebody think of this sooner? Mayor Emanuel has proposed authorizing the City of Chicago to buy bonds issued by Chicago...

For Illinois’ and Everybody’s Sake, Put the UK at ‘Top of the Queue.’ Now. – Updated – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Think what you want about whether Britain was wise to exit the European Union, but, now that it's coming, Illinois should be...

Orlando as a Fundraising Opp: Blatant Ethics Violation by Illinois Congresswoman – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The righteous needn't concern themselves with rules, laws or standards of fundamental decency, evidently.   I received this blast email this morning from my...

Bankruptcy Code Amendments Should Now Be Illinois’ Imperative – WP Original

  Illinois is falling further behind the curve by ignoring the inevitable. It's priority should be influencing Congress to amend the Bankruptcy Code to make...

Why Unions Cheered Can-Kick on Chicago Pensions: Automatic Tax Levy, Casino! – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If you're scratching your head about why public unions are thrilled with the override of Governor Rauner's veto of SB777, which reduces...

Chicago Laborers’ Pension ‘Rescue’ is Just Another Can-Kick – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   "We'll worry about fixing the pension in five years and hammer new workers for now." That's a pretty fair summary of the...

Lessons for Chicago from Detroit’s Bankruptcy: By the Book – WP Guest

  By: Joe Mathewson*   As the City of Chicago prepares to borrow still more to pay current bills, we taxpayers are constrained to wonder: where’s the...

What? Chicago Pension Liability Jumped $11.5 Billion in an Instant? – UPDATED – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Bloomberg today reported that Chicago's unfunded pension liability jumped by a staggering $11.5 billion. For a little perspective, keep in mind that...

New ‘Market Based’ Data Show Mind-Blowing Reality of Illinois Pension Debt – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research recently published a splendid new database, Pension Tracker, that includes "market based" numbers on state...

Just What’s in that $700 Million Social Services Bill, Crammed Through in an Hour? – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   High fives abounded Thursday in Springfield after both houses of the General Assembly approved spending $700 million on social services. But has...

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund’s Shameful Bragging Tour – WP Original

  "Gall: Brazen boldness coupled with impudent assurance and insolence." -  Merriam-Webster Dictionary By: Mark Glennon* IMRF, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, went on a "statewide informational tour"...

WirePoints’ Mark Glennon Interview on AM560 on that $12.2 Billion Sitting with Illinois Treasurer

Audio of the interview linked here. The article discussed in the interview is linked here.

Does the Illinois Constitution prohibit taxpayer relief from pension promises? – WP Guest

  By: Joe Mathewson*   As the need for taxpayer relief from the unconscionable debts our elected leaders have amassed becomes more and more acute, two questions...

CTU Has the Answer: New or Higher Taxes on Vehicles, SSA, Star Wars, Personal Property Rental, Rideshare, Millionaires, Financial Transactions, Progressive Income, TIFs, Hotels, Commercial Property and, Yes, a Head Tax – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   “We have a recovery plan that the school district and the city council should consider," says Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis...

$12 Billion Sits Unused With Illinois Treasurer. Why? – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* What sense is there letting $11.5 to $14 billion of state money sit around indefinitely, unused, invested mostly short term and earning...

The Confiscation Continues: New Study Shows Illinois Property Tax Over 2X National Average, Highest in U.S. – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   CoreLogic, a California-based financial data firm, today released its analysis showing average Illinois property taxes of 2.67%, over twice the national average...

New Jersey’s Warning to Illinois on Flight and Inequality – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   One person's move from New Jersey to Florida for tax reasons had New Jersey leader's "freaking out" this month, according to the...

‘Why Are Conservative Girls So Pretty?’ — The Great Debate Begins

  By: Mark Glennon*   Hey, that's not our our question or our headline, so chill.   It is, though, for a rather serious article yesterday in the right-leaning...

Baffled by Conduct of Chicago Teachers? You Probably Haven’t Read ‘Rules for Radicals’ – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Why on earth, you might ask, would the Chicago Teachers' Union be so anxious to strike against a school district so clearly...

Dems Have Answer for Illinois Fiscal Crisis: Tax Cut for 99%, Soak the 1%! – WP Original

  “When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.” - Ben Franklin   By Mark Glennon*   Unbelieveable. State...

Illinois’ Pension Quicksand: A Quick Way to Measure it – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   For those of you frustrated by obscure pension reporting, here's a simple way to look just a few numbers and get a...

Finally, A Serious, Productive National Debate About Trade? Don’t Count On It – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   It's a lesson I first learned over thirty years ago as a law clerk one summer in the State Department's Office of...

Report: Chicago Among Four Cities With Largest Exodus of Millionaires in the World Last Year – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A recent report by New World Wealth identifies which cities and countries had the largest net inflow and outflow of millionaires in...

Onward Towards the Abyss: Chicago’s Pension Decision – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   It only gets worse. Last week's Illinois Supreme Court decision was no surprise, but the real news was about reaction to it,...

Hate-Baiting and Race-Baiting Turned Surreal in Chicago on Friday Night – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   I was at the Illinois GOP event at the Palmer House in Chicago Friday night, which was the other target of protesters...

Huge, Blind Reliance on State Exposed by Illinois Fiscal Crisis – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Did you know Catholic Charities is Illinois' largest social service provider and gets 70% of its funding from the state? I didn't....

My, What a Foolish Comment by the Chicago Tribune’s Chairman – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Michael Ferro is the Chairman and largest shareholder of Tribune Publishing, owner of the Chicago Tribune. This week, he said:   I now understand...

Pension Lawsuits and the Blame Game: Detroit is Harbinger of the Inevitable – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Detroit last week gave us a glimpse of what to expect on a much larger scale in Chicago and across the country...

Municipal Bankruptcy Brings Joy to Taxpayers – WP Guest

  By: Joe Mathewson*   Chicago Public Schools’ desperate and very costly quest for buyers of its recent $725-million bond issue (cut from $875 million) is a...

The Civic Federation Has Lost Its Way – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The Civic Federation had a long, proud history providing an important check on state and local financial management. It sounded the alarm...

Kumbaya Won’t Fix Illinois – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   "Politicians, do your jobs." "Compromise." "Can't we all get along?" In the endless repetition of calls like that, the underlying thought is...

New Study Details Illinois Pension Excess at the Top, Hardship Below – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Public union leaders forever pound their chests about wealth inequality and how our pension system protects the middle class. In fact, Illinois...

Illinois Fire and Police Pension Actuary Facing Actuarial Discipline – WP Exclusive

  By:  Mark Glennon*   WirePoints has learned that the Actuarial Board of Counseling and Discipline (the ABCD) recently recommended that Timothy Sharpe, actuary to dozens of...

Fight or Flight? – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Boy, do I get emails here. A regular one in particular makes me squirm. It's not any of the insults like "vulture...

Updated: What Are the CTU and CPS thinking? No, seriously. – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   In its statement yesterday announcing rejection of the contract offer made by Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Teachers Union included this:        CPS’...

Municipal Bankruptcy Debate Begins in Illinois: Expect Mass Ignorance and Distortion – WP Original

  Behold the Chicago Cubs.   By: Mark Glennon*   The inevitable is here. The real importance of Governor Rauner's proposal to authorize optional bankruptcy for Chicago Public Schools...

More Pension Deceit and Hypocrisy from Union-Backed CTBA – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability today released a report titled, Public Pensions: Frequently Asked Questions. The "average" annual pension benefit for...

Who Is To Blame for the Status of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund? – WP Guest

  Preface: The following was submitted by “A Recovering Pension Actuary” – somebody I believe to be knowledgeable and credible who asked to be kept...

Schakowsky Draws a Determined Opponent for U.S. Congress: Joan McCarthy Lasonde – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Jan Schakowsky won't get another free pass this November when she seeks reelection for an eighth term in Congress.   She'll face a committed...

New Study: Chicago has worst unfunded pension liability as a percentage of revenue among major cities – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   A new study by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence looks at city unfunded pension liabilities under new governmental accounting...

To Judge Rauner’s First Year, Step Back, Think Broadly – WP Original

  "There is no history, only biography." -Ralph Waldo Emerson   Don't look just at the trees as you read the articles grading Bruce Rauner on this first...

A Galling Boast in Chicago’s Bond Pitch: Haves Replacing Have Nots – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   One particular piece of bragging in the offering materials** for Chicago's upcoming bond sale caught my attention. No, it wasn't any of...

The Machine Must Be Destroyed – WP Original

  "Carthage must be destroyed." - Cato the Elder, Roman Senator   By: Mark Glennon*   The core identity of moral and fiscal bankruptcy in Illinois government cannot be denied....

Subaverage Appreciation is Costing Chicago Area Homeowners a Fortune – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Home appreciation around Chicago is lagging behind national averages. How much is that costing homeowners? Recently released data suggests roughly $12.3 billion...

Our Ten Most Popular Stories of 2015

  By: Mark Glennon*   These stories got the most page views on this site over the past year. This is perhaps a bit distorted towards more...

Bankruptcy Offers No Easy Fix For Chicago Public School Finances – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Suppose bankruptcy for Chicago Public Schools could somehow entirely cancel all its unfunded pension liability, all its bonded debt, and let the...

Ugly: Chicago Public School Teachers’ Pension Releases New Actuary Report – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Last week, the Chicago Public School Teachers' Pension Fund posted its actuarial report for the 2015 fiscal year that ended June 30....

The Best, Worst, Wisest and Dumbest Quotes on Illinois’ Economy and Government of 2015 – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Steel yourself. Don't expect many laughs. This site is about economics, "the dismal science," and something more dismal, Illinois government. Here are...

Why Lincolnshire’s Right-To-Work Enactment Is So Important – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   We told you early this year that right-to-work would likely come to Illinois but it would have nothing to do with what...

Union Collective Bargaining Agreements Linked to Chicago Police Misconduct by Independent Study – WP Original

  "I could hire and fire at will." Adlai Stevenson III, calling for a return to how things worked when he was Illinois Treasurer from 1967...

It’s Just Math: Time for Illinois’ Pension and Fiscal Reform Opponents to Put Up or Go Away – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   It comes down to a single question in Illinois. Everybody with an opinion about the financial mess should be forced to try...

Reality Shock: The Highest Property Tax Rates in Cook and Its Collar Counties – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* Nobody of any political stripe or party can defend property tax rates now exploding in many communities surrounding Chicago. Aside from rank...

Suicidal Property Tax Rates and the Collapse of Chicago’s South Suburbs – WP Original

  "Don't go past the top of the curve." -Robert P. Inman, Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, Wharton School By: Mark Glennon* Chicago's south suburbs are...

‘Rahm’s Ramp’: The Madness of Chicago’s Pension ‘Reform’ – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   If you're not exasperated  by Chicago's approach to pension "reform," you haven't been paying attention.   The absurdity into which it has descended is...

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan Sued for Refusing to Properly Defend Workers’ Comp Claims – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Late yesterday the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) filed a lawsuit against Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan alleging she is...

Staged: A Particularly Dishonest ‘Town Hall’ Meeting on Budget With IL Rep. Robyn Gabel – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) is a member of the Illinois House, representing the 18th District in Chicago's north suburbs. Monday evening I went...

New Workers Subsidizing Illinois’ Surging $100,000/Year Pension Club – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The number of public retirees receiving pensions over $100,000 in Illinois jumped this year to 7,407, up 1,384 since last year. The...

A Big Myth Persists: Defining Away Part of the Pension Crisis – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* Look, maybe it would be reasonable to argue that solving only part of our pension crisis is the best we can possibly...

‘Super Chapter 9’ Bankruptcy: Start Following the Debate – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If you haven't followed Puerto Rico's financial crisis, serious debate now focuses on authorizing it to file a "Super Chapter 9" municipal...

U.K. May Include Pensions in ‘Stress Tests.’ IL & U.S Would be PTSD Corpses if Fed Did Same – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The U.K.'s central bank was reported today to be considering expanding its stress tests to include pensions. Stress tests are done by...

Why Jim Edgar Has Zero Credibility on Illinois Budget, Pensions: It’s Not Just the ‘Edgar Ramp’ – WP Original

  "Seems that not all recent Illinois governors end up in prison, but perhaps they should be jailed for this crap." -Actuary Mary Pat Campbell   By: Mark...

The Shock and Awe Budget Address Rahm Should Have Given – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* If Mayor Emanuel was intent on halting Chicago's downward spiral and if we had a General Assembly in Springfield willing to authorize...

Chicago’s Pension Pit in Simple Numbers – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If you understand nothing else about Chicago's budget, learn these few, basic numbers on its pensions and property taxes.   The chart below is...

Intergenerational Theft: Illinois Teacher Pension Debt Per Student Rivals College Loan ‘Crisis’ – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Illinois is among the worst states in the college student debt "crisis," as it's often called. Per student college debt here averages...

Meet Mr. and Ms. Average. Firefighter & Teacher. Retired at 58. Cash Value of Pensions? About $3.5 Million – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Mr. Average was a Chicago firefighter who retired last year. His wife worked outside the home, as in most families today. Ms....

Russia’s Pravda Ridicules Fiscal Management of Chicago, Kankakee – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   An article today in Russia's Pravda lectures us: "If you've studied cost accounting at a graduate level, did cost accounting work and...

Updated: New Biennial Report on All Illinois Pensions Shows Unfunded Liabilities Up $14 Billion – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*     The Illinois Department of Insurance publishes, every two years, a compilation of data submitted by all of Illinois' 672 public pensions. Hot...

A Must-Watch Video for Pension Crisis Followers: Actuaries ‘Enable and Abet’ the Crisis

  By: Mark Glennon*   If you have a serious interest in how our public pension crisis arose and continues to grow, invest 40 minutes watching the...

Salary and Pension Hikes Far Beyond Inflation Account for Most of Chicago Property Tax Raise – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   How could a city that seems so prosperous be so broke? Why the big tax hikes?   Aside from pensions, the most obvious reason...

OK, Who’s the Joker Who Gave Rahm A Different City’s Budget Address to Read? – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Man, what a screw up. Mayor Rahm Emanuel yesterday gave Chicago's annual budget address. The one he gave must have been meant...

‘The Silo Effect’: Illinois’ Extreme Case Explains So Much – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The Silo Effect is a new book by the Financial Times' U.S. Managing Editor, Gillian Tett. Read it thinking about Illinois and...

Chicago Firefighter and Police Salaries and Pensions, Then and Now – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Compensation for firefighters and police is the third rail nobody wants to talk about. The key numbers are below, including what happened...

Illinois’ Forgotten, Monstrous Healthcare Liability to Public Pensioners – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   It still hasn't sunk in. Our state pension crisis is nearly always quantified by the press as a "$111 billion unfunded liability."   What's...

Turning Point: Is Illinois’ Broken Pension System Now Discouraging Public Service? – WP Original

  "Ask not about your retirement security."   By: Mark Glennon*   A major turning point is coming soon that will change the pension debate, and it may be...

Why Chicago’s $500 Million Property Tax Increase Won’t Solve Much – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   You're dead wrong if you think the $500 million property tax increase now proposed for Chicago, the largest in its modern history,...

Illinois, NOW You’re Figuring Out That SB-1 Pension Reform Was a Gimmick? – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   J. Fred Giertz is emeritus faculty at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. Last week, he...

Chicago Doubles Down on a Hairbrained Housing Ordinance – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Suppose we agree that something locally produced -- anything, widgets let's say  -- is unaffordable for many people. And suppose we want...

Donald Trump, We Don’t Do Ethnic Cleansings – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   It would take the equivalent of loading over 500 trains to ship all of Illinois' illegal aliens out. Nationally, it would take...

Bloated Pensions for Many Will Mean Retirement Hardship for Some in Illinois, But How Many? – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Few things irk real pension reformers more than the constant claim by opponents that protecting pensions is about defending the little guy....

This Should be Clear: Chicago Not Liable on Pension Obligations – WP Original

An update on a crucial issue getting no attention.

Updated – He’s Back: Dave McKinney, Pensions, and Partisan Reporters – WP Original

Update 9/2/14. Dave McKinney has accepted a job a Reuters, and apparently will cover Illinois issues. This is a tragedy. Political reporters are not...

Hey Rahm, Cheerleaders Don’t Win Games – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Last week, a union leader and Mayor Emanuel teamed up to dump on Governor Rauner for repeatedly saying our business climate is...

Are We Crazy in Chicago? Seriously, That Is. – WP Original

  “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland   By: Mark Glennon*   Is some...

Another Record Month for Our Readership and a Note to Our Readers – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   July is another record month for our online traffic, which continues to surge.   Special thanks to some particularly well-informed readers who give us...

Harshest Critics of Public Pensions are Nobel Prize Winning Economists – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Nobel Prize winning economists aren't the hyperbolic type. They usually speak in measured tones, careful to protect the precision of their academic ...

The Madness Continues: What You Need to Know About the Chicago Pension Decision – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A Chicago trial judge, Rita Novak, today ruled that the pension reform law for two Chicago pensions is unconstitutional. Her full opinion...

Illinois’ Tier 2 Pension Reforms: A Particularly Interesting Comment by a State Rep – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   You'll recall that in 2010 Illinois passed, to widespread, bi-partisan applause, the "Tier 2" pension reforms. Under it, state and local workers...

Why Illinois’ Pension Crisis Will Worsen Even Faster Than Before – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   If you think pensions for Illinois and its municipalities are in awful shape and worsening, just wait.   Illinois' five statewide pensions report their...

Down the Drain: Cook County’s New Pension Report and its Sales Tax Increase – Updated – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Make no mistake about where the additional one percent Cook County sales tax will go, along with much more -- into its...

Why Michigan’s Approach for Detroit’s Schools is Better Suited for Chicago’s – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* The Detroit Public School District, like Chicago's, is struggling for its financial life. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder earlier this year proposed a...

The Key Number in Chicago’s Pension Crisis Nobody Has – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   With tax increase proposals "popping up like weeds," as one headline put it today, voters, particularly in Chicago, are justified in asking...

Tax Rate Objection Lawsuits Challenge Funding Needs of a District – WP Original

  By: Nancy Mathieson*   Most property owners are familiar with remedies for challenging their property’s assessment for tax purposes, but there’s a rarer, broader remedy occasionally...

Pure Treachery: IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan Seeks to Halt Paychecks to State Workers – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan went to court yesterday to stop state worker paychecks during the government shutdown or to allow payment...

Why Rahm’s press conference on CPS was a major failure – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Chicagoans and bond investors are now demanding to hear solutions that are adequate, quantified, verifiable, long term and politically viable. Mayor Emanuel...

Wholesale ‘Reconstitution’ of CPS: The Only Real Option? – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* For the Chicago Public School system, it's not just the near term cash crunch or the $634 million payment to its pension...

From Ireland: Much in Tech Startups Familiar to Illinois, But Not All – WP Original

  Múineann gá seift. (Need teaches a plan.) -Gailic proverb   By: Mark Glennon*   A strange sense of  familiarity often strikes visitors to Ireland from Chicago, and no doubt...

Pekin Perplexed by Pension Pickle — Predictably – WP Original

    He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever." -Chinese Proverb   By: Mark Glennon*   Sorry to single...

Illinois Municipal Bankruptcy: Updates and Further Thoughts – Updated – WP Original

 Updated 6/14/15 where indicated in italics. By: Mark Glennon*   HB298,  a bill to authorize Illinois municipalities (cities, towns, school districts, counties, etc.) to file under Chapter...

A WirePoints Article That Should Have Saved Taxpayers Millions – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   “Prepare to get sick,” we wrote, and “stop this now,” we put in bold face. That was on Thanksgiving Eve last year...

The Civic Federation Reawakening? We Need the Business Community Now. – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   The Civic Federation of Chicago has a long, proud history as a watchdog for fiscal responsibility, particularly on pensions, providing an almost...

Comments Submitted for the Actuarial Standards Board Hearing on Public Pensions

  By: Mark Glennon*   The Actuarial Standards Board is the standards setting body for actuaries in the United States, including actuaries who prepare the reports for...

‘Whistling Past the Graveyard’: An Actuary Looks at the New Chicago Pension Bill – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Steven Bourg is an enrolled pension actuary from Maryland. He has been watching events in Illinois and emailing me recently. By sheer...

Your Cook County Property Tax Bill Would Have to Jump 51% Just to Halt Further Bleeding in County Pension – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   How much would your Cook County property taxes have to increases just to stop the bleeding in the county's pension -- just...

Chicago’s Botched Pension ‘Reform’: A Preview for Other Illinois Municipalities – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Consider this:   - Chicago is negotiating to undue a key part of its 2014 pension reform, even while it fights in court to...

An Absolutely Crucial Issue for Chicago, Other IL Municipal Pensions is Unanswered – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   If Chicago or another Illinois municipality let its pensions run dry, either willfully or not, would that municipality be obligated to pay...

Mr. Market says Chicago bonds are junk – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Moody's says Chicago's credit is junk bond equivalent, but Fitch and S&P say 'no.'   Take your pick, but the market now says its...

Why the ‘consideration’ approach to pension reform is a gimmick – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Senate President John Cullerton has rekindled his idea that meaningful constitutional pension reform can be accomplished by offering a swap to pensioners...

S&P, slated to rate upcoming Chicago bond sale, goes comparatively easy on downgrade. Hmmm. – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   S&P yesterday downgraded Chicago's general obligation bonds to A- from A+, which the agency said was three notches above "junk" level. That's...

No. We Will Not ‘Just Pay Up’ for Pensions – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   "We will just have to pay up." That's the conclusion many are now saying we must accept after the court decision invalidating...

Reporters, Politicians Vie for Dumbest Reactions to Illinois Pension Ruling – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   With fear palpable in Illinois since invalidation of pension reform, you'd think reporters and politicians would now be up to speed on...

What You Need to Know About Illinois Supreme Court’s Sweeping, Historic Pension Ruling – Analysis – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The Illinois Supreme Court today invalidated SB-1, the Illinois pension reform law from 2013. Though the ruling was anticipated, its consequences are...

Other States Balk at Multibillion Dollar Cost While Illinois Spends Blindly on Energy Alternatives – In Depth – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   "Wait a minute," I said to an Illinois House member at a recent forum, and repeated the question to be sure I...

Bill would levy special tax to fund Chicago teacher pension, reduce Chicago school funding – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   It has received little attention, but a bill (HB3695) recently proposed in Springfield would levy a special property tax in Chicago payable...

About that Surprise Jump in Revenue for Illinois – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Despite the rollback in personal income tax rates from 5% to 3.75% in January, which also shrank withholding rates paid over to...

Unfunded Mandates Are What Keeps Illinois Mayors Up At Night – WP Original

  By: Nancy Mathieson*   When a group of local mayors met at Congressman Bob Dold’s (IL-10) recent roundtable discussion, it didn’t take long for them to...

‘Staggering,’ Says New Report on Chicago’s Pension Contribution Shortfalls – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A research report recently issued by Nuveen Asset Management provides another take on the total annual liability Chicago taxpayers would face if...

Legislation introduced to drive capital out Illinois — in effect – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   You might think Illinois would value the presence of venture capital funds, hedge funds, real estate funds and private equity, which is...

Bankruptcy for Illinois Municipalities: Things We Know and Things We Can’t Know – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Since the 'B' word is now being spoken in Chicago and other Illinois cities, here are some key things to keep in...

A Frightening Week Awaits CPS and All of Chicago – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   There's no point in sugarcoating this. The financial crisis at the Chicago Public School District may come to a head this week,...

Public Bankruptcy Talk Isn’t ‘Dangerous.’ Denial and Dereliction Are – WP Original

  "Bliss just isn't worth the price." -Rich Miller   By: Mark Glennon*   Dangerous talk of Chicago schools bankruptcy, -- that's the headline description today in a Crain's story...

Why Progressives Should Support Repeal of Illinois’ Pension Protection Clause – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   A core goal of progressivism is fundamentally right and noble -- helping those most in need. But what actually works is where...

Open mic delivers priceless audio sample of Chicago area government culture – WP Original

  "Nobody here really gives a fuck."   By: Mark Glennon*   If you're not from around Chicago, get ready for a perfect audio lesson on what we're dealing...

Rahm and Chicago Will Pivot or Perish – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Rahm Emmanuel will become Bruce Rauner on steroids -- a relentlessly creative and radical turnaround artist -- or he and Chicago are...

Get The Lead Out, Illinois Supreme Court: Decide the Pension Case – WP Original

  By: Mark  Glennon*   The United States Supreme Court issued its written opinion in Bush v. Gore just one day after it heard oral arguments on...

Hey Indiana, Thanks for Helping Illinois’ Economy – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Think what you want of the merits of Indiana's new religious freedom law -- that's your business.  And never mind that 19...

Illinois Taxpayers Are Guarantying 7.5% Return On Savings Account For Certain Pensioners – WP Original

Guess who's paying to subsidize and guaranty returns on a savings account not available to you?

Is Pension Reform Constitutional? Heck, yeah. Well, maybe, if we ask the right question – Guest Opinion

  Mitchell I. Serota, Ph.D., Fellow, Society of Actuaries   The Attorney General, though her Solicitor General, needs a more potent argument to convince the Illinois Supreme...

Illinois Pension Case: Good for Nothing Except a Pretext, But Pretext for What? – WP Original

Let the politicians who bankrupted us have an excuse for changing positions, but insist they finally get it right.

Prediction: Right-to-work will come to Illinois, locally — WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Here's a flat-out prediction: Home rule units of government in Illinois will begin enacting right-to-work locally, and it doesn't matter what Springfield...

Lake County Board Chairman Sets Agenda for Unfunded and Unnecessary Mandates – WP Original

Aaron Lawler, Lake County Board Chairman since 2012, is setting an agenda to remove unnecessary mandates that cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

Public union members just 3% of Illinois, but such havoc – WP Original

An extraordinary feat, actually: so much power acquired by so few.

Econ 101 for Progressives: Corporations Never Pay Any Taxes – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   It's not opinion or economic theory, but undeniable fact: Corporations don't pay any taxes. They collect them.   With the chorus on the left...

New warning from S&P for Chicago: Read it carefully – WP Original

Serious as next year's problem is, the statement contains a much starker warning for the longer term. It quantifies just how far off Chicago is from addressing its pension crisis.

Bullseye: Why Gov. Rauner’s Order on Forced Union Dues is so Important for Illinois – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   If you follow the state and local fiscal crises, you know the bulk of our problems derive from 1) public pensions, and...

WirePoints Adds Free Daily Email Digest of Select Stories, and a ‘Thank You’

By: Mark Glennon*   We've added the option of receiving a free daily email of all major stories we post. Just hit the green button on...

Monthly state revenue report shows continuing drop – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   The January report from the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability shows further deterioration in total state revenues. Decreased revenues from...

A Sadder Angle: Per Pupil Teacher Pension Debt in Illinois – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   A different and more heartbreaking way to look at the Illinois pension fiasco is contained in a report just issued by the...

Risk: The Illinois Pension Devil Seldom Acknowledged – WP Guest

  By: Tia Goss Sawhney*   In the Illinois public pension world risk is the devil seldom acknowledged, let alone carefully considered. Everyone not living under...

New Study: Corruption and Pension Debt Go Hand-in-Hand – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   A research report published by Morningstar yesterday empirically validates a central criticism of public pension plans -- that corruption and excessive public...

Fiscal Fog Lingers Over Country Club Hills – WP Original

By: Nancy Mathieson and Mark Glennon*   Country Club Hills, a suburb of Chicago, seems intent on making itself the poster child for poor financial reporting....

Illinois emerging from denial; Chicago, other cities stuck in La La Land – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   It's a lesson you learn fast doing insolvency work: The first step towards recovery is admission of  exactly how bad things are....

The ‘Tier 2’ Pension Mess in Illinois – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon* Updated 1/16/14 As if Illinois public pensions don't have enough problems, it's becoming evermore apparent that the Tier 2 reforms enacted in 2010...

Monthly state revenue growth weak again for Illinois – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   The Illinois Commission on Governmental Forecasting and Accountability released its December report. As has been the trend, state revenues are not increasing...

Expect No ‘Guidance’ on Pension Reform from Illinois Supreme Court – WP Original

Including healthcare liabilities, which the court recently decided are constitutionally protected along with pension benefits, the reform bill at issue would reduce unfunded liabilities...

Yes! Rauner to Appoint Leslie Munger as Illinois Comptroller – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Governor-elect Rauner today announced he will appoint Leslie Munger of Lincolnshire to replace Judy Topinka as Illinois Comptroller.   Munger, new to politics, recently...

Illinois Auditor General Report Kicks Off Another Year of Pension Madness and Underfunding – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Each year, the Illinois Auditor General hires its own actuary and submits a review of the actuarial reports for each of the...

Wisest and Dumbest Quotes on Illinois’ Economy and Government in 2014 – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Don't expect many laughs in this because less-than-entertaining topics like pensions and budgets dominate in Illinois, but here are some of the...

Ten fiscal and financial stories ignored by Illinois media in 2014 – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   One raison d'être for WirePoints is the Illinois media's poor understanding of our fiscal and economic problems, which contributes to public ignorance...

DuPage County Looking to Save $80 million: Local Government Consolidation – Part 2 – WP Original

  By: Nancy Mathieson*   Dan Cronin, DuPage County Board Chairman, thinks consolidating and streamlining special purpose taxing bodies doesn’t have to do with the county absorbing...

Big Mistake: New Chicago Treasurer to Divert Pension Money to Economic Development – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Let's hope sincerity isn't among the attributes of Chicago's new Treasurer, at least when it comes to his action plan for city...

“Welcome Home Illinois” – Buying Votes with Bad Policy? – WP Original

  By: Mark Glennon*   Was the "Welcome Home Illinois" Loan Program a noble effort to help first time home buyers or a vote buying scheme premised...

$224 Million Thanksgiving Eve Binge by Pat Quinn! – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Prepare to get sick.   Late today, in nine separate press releases, Governor Pat Quinn announced spending totaling $223.7 million from the infamous "Jobs...

New Jersey Comes Clean on Pension Numbers; Will Illinois? – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   "Our state pensions are really only 33% funded, not 54% as we have been telling you." That's a pretty fair summary of...

Lame Illinois pension reform voided: Time for the real thing – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   A Sangamon County Circuit Court granted labor's motion to invalidate SB1, Illinois' pension reform law. The court's order is linked here.   The court...

Watch IL State Sen. Don Harmon Make a Fool Himself on Minimum Wage – WP Original

Don't try to talk evidence with a champion of the underprivileged capitalizing on the popularity of raising the minimum wage.

No Easy Task: Consolidating Illinois’ 8,466 Units of Government – WP Original

By: Nancy Mathieson*   Illinois is #1 on another list, this time comparing number of units of government to all other U.S. states. 6,963 is our...

A No-Cost Proposal to Bring Business and Revenue Into Illinois – WP Original

  "Copy the Delaware General Corporation Law into Illinois law. Just copy it."   By: Mark Glennon*   If you've ever worked as an accountant, lawyer or paralegal doing...

Pension Transparency: Reform Rauner Can Make Alone – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Public pension numbers are by far the murkiest part of Illinois' fiscal crisis, and the biggest. Pension numbers have been deliberately obfuscated...

Bruce Rauner Defeats Public Unions, Media, Quinn – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Pat Quinn is rightfully listed last in that headline. He is, and always was, a buffoon.   Rauner dropped the attacks on public unions...

Entrepreneurs at the Polls

  By: Mark Glennon*   My daughter and friend with a hot chocolate stand outside polling place.   Expecting swat team from Quinn's regulators to arrive any minute to...

A truly eerie pre-election evening in Illinois – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Such a strange and scary feeling in Illinois tonight. I've certainly never felt something like this before an election. It's a sense...

Needed: A security that ‘shorts’ Illinois if Pat Quinn wins – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Over the past few months I've been trying to find some means to short sell Illinois to hedge against the chance that...

‘Illinois Math’ Ridiculed, Deficit for Illinois’ Biggest Pension Jumps by $5.9 Billion – WP Original

Another sad installment on Illinois' pension fiasco was released today. But this time, the actuary ridiculed the state's pension accounting and coined a wonderful new term, "Illinois Math."

$111,280,000,000: The cost to employ Illinois’ jobless at the price/job state paid to lure Cronus – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   The State of Illinois on Monday proudly announced it had succeeded in bringing Cronus Chemical Company into the state to build a...

Bloody Tuesday for Illinois Taxpayers: Tens of millions to fund Quinn’s new jobs claims – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Not just another day in Illinois. The election is coming up, so open your wallets to fund the pork. Here's what we...

Wrongheaded: Civic Committee’s ‘What If?’ Initiative for Illinois Pensions – WP Original

A better question to be asking is, "What if SB1 is upheld?"

‘Et tu’ for state handouts, University of Chicago? – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   If there's a phrase synonymous with the University of Chicago, it's surely "free to choose." That's the title of an exceptionally influential...

How the Largest Municipal Fraud in U.S. History was Committed in Illinois – WP Original

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.

Updated: Slimiest campaign in Illinois is Rep. Carol Sente’s – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* FURTHER UPDATE 11/4/14: Slime won. UPDATE: 10/24/14 The Chicago Tribune has the same view of Carol Sente in its endorsement today of Leslie...

Illinois’ Most Pernicious Pension Lie – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   In the October 9 gubernatorial debate Governor Quinn said repeatedly that his administration has been making all appropriate payments into the state...

‘Socialism in the air’ as Sharkey assumes Chicago Teachers Union leadership

By: Mark Glennon*   Should our kids be taught how to function in a market based economy by those who are lead by somebody who despises...

“Full” Pension Payments Aren’t Full in Illinois – WP Guest

By: Tia Goss Sawhney, DrPH, FSA, MAAA* In the October 9 gubernatorial debate between Governor Quinn and Bruce Rauner. Gov. Quinn said he deserves credit...

Attorney General Filings Summarized: Illinois is Screwed (and Nuts) – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   To grasp the real scope of the Illinois pension catastrophe, think hard about what the state said about itself in court...

Latest monthly update on state revenue: Meh

By: Mark Glennon*   Every month, the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability updates its numbers on how much revenue the state is collecting for...

Chicago, that universal taxi hailing system you want to build is already built! – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week proposed a splendid idea for modernizing Chicago’s taxi hailing system and putting it on a level playing...

Economic suicide: New study of Chicago area effective property tax rates should leave you speechless – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon,* Updated 9/30/14   A study by the Civic Federation released yesterday computes true, effective property tax rates for Chicago area communities -- the...

Worst Illinois pension commentary of the week – from Sen. Cullerton’s lawyer – Updated – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   UPDATE 9/29/14 -- See note at end of piece regarding more detailed article my Mr. Madiar.   What a sensible headline: With Illinois pensions,...

Mind-blowing: The stealth price paid by Illinois homeowners for bad government – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Home values in Illinois have lagged behind national averages in recent years, but the staggering total dollar cost to homeowners is never...

The one question to ask every candidate for the Illinois House – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   In private, few Illinoisans of any ideology would disagree that House Speaker Michael Madigan is at the core of most everything rotten...

Chicago has more retired police and firefighters than working – WP Original

By: Nancy Mathieson* Among the many reasons Chicago’s police and fire pensions are grossly underfunded are inadequate long-term planning, legislated benefit increases, pension holidays and...

The lessons we should have learned when Pat Quinn was Treasurer – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   A wonderful little story from a former Illinois reporter illustrates so much we should have learned twenty years ago when Pat Quinn...

Teachers’ unions and Quinn double down on hypocrisy – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Last week, the main political action committee supporting Pat Quinn used by public unions, particularly teachers' unions, signaled an ugly turning point.   The...

Meet the man who might re-elect Pat Quinn – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   If Bruce Rauner beats Pat Quinn in November it will be by a small margin -- probably less than five percent. That's...

Busted: 45-year-old mortality data hid some pensions’ debt – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   If you were obligated to pay pensioners for their entire lives, would you estimate how much you would need using life expectancies...

Illinois as Unhappy with its Direction as Ukraine, Nigeria, Egypt…Yet Still no Fight – WP Original

In those places at least they are willing to fight for change, however wrongheaded some of them may be on the ends for which they fight and on violence as their means.

Monday morning quarterbacking Illinois pension bonds – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   A debate is emerging over whether Illinois' pension obligation bonds, seen through the rear view mirror, were wise.   The idea behind pension obligation...

A troubling report on state revenue – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Each month, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability issues an update on how much revenue the State of Illinois is taking...

Labor Day 2014: Face it, we’ve failed workers – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   It seems simple enough that we should have figured out how to get it long ago -- an economy where people trade...

Lame: Illinois’ new law criminalizing public record destruction – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Governor Quinn this week signed HB 4216 that criminalizes hiding or destroying public records by government officials.   Sort of.   It provides that, “Any person...

Has the A.G. already blown Illinois’ best defense on pension reform? – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   If the argument made by a coalition of public pensions in their court filing last week is correct (or if pension-friendy judges...

Not even fiddling while Illinois burns – WP Original

  An escalating pension crisis, a wasted summer, and The March of Folly.   By: Mark Glennon*   The fate of Illinois will not be determined by most of...

Worst opinion piece of the week: Defending democracy requires keeping our 8,466 units of government

  By: Mark Glennon*   The Founders would surely be proud to know how long democracy has survived, but this would no doubt make them shit. (Even...

Inadequate Actuarial Work meets Underfunded Pensions and Poor Journalism – WP Guest

  *Tia Goss Sawhney, DrPH, FSA, MAAA*   This article is in response to a recent article in the Forest Park Review, Police and fire pensions in...

Bad Pensions Meet Bad Journalism: An Example and a Lesson – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Usually, Illinois' 600-plus municipal pensions are ignored by local papers. Maybe that's a blessing because, when they try, they often do readers...

$16 Billion to Fix VA Problems; in Illinois, Maybe Not – WP Original

By Nancy Mathieson   Last week Congress approved and the president signed into law a $16.3 Billion plan to ease health care delays at Veterans Affairs...

A Must-Read State Pension Analysis: The ARC and the Covenants

By: Mark Glennon*   A research report recently published by JP Morgan looks at pension obligations for Illinois and other states from several particularly useful and...

Poll Shows Frightening Voter Blindness to Need for Illinois Pension Reform – WirePoints Original

By Mark Glennon*   There's a stunner buried in that poll released today, more surprising than showing Lisa Madigan is at risk of losing her Attorney...

Could NRI money have been decisive in Quinn’s 2010 election win? – WP Original

Different ways of determining whether Pat Quinn stole the 2010 election for governor.

“Global Warming Threatens Chicago Tourism” – Really? – WP Original

A travel and tourism adviser to the U.S. Commerce Secretary says global warming is hurting Chicago tourism.

A Week-In-The-Life of Illinois Pensions: Craziness is so Routine – WirePoints Original

New absurdities turn up routinely. Here's one week's worth.

How Online Auctions Move Real Estate in Chicago – WP Original

Fewer financing contingencies move properties quickly.

A Staggering Pension Decision Takes Illinois to the Brink – WirePoints Original

With the stroke of a pen last week the Illinois Supreme Court made subsidized healthcare insurance for public pensioners a constitutionally unalterable right. The economic impact is staggering.

Priceless: lllinois’ new five-year economic plan ignores cost – WirePoints Original

Don't ask the Quinn administration for the price of its new five-year economic plan for Illinois. They don't have it.

Insane implications of keeping two sets of books for pensions – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Should the solvency of the state and many of its cities, and their capacity to fund schools and other essential services, be...

Oh, by the way, those troubled pensions now officially several times worse than you were told – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Reality is on its way. This month marks the date of full implementation of new accounting rules that will dramatically worsen reported...

Insidious Unfunded Mandate in 2010 Pension Law Looms; Drastic Reactions Begin – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Mostly unnoticed in a 2010 pension bill is a state mandate that towns and cities start a payment plan, in whatever-it-takes yearly...

Why Illinois voters should understand the Laffer Curve – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   "Please, don't go to the top of the curve!" That was the warning from a Wharton School professor of finance, Robert Inman,...

Please, no taxpayer funded handouts to the tech startup sector – WP Original

Ubi est mea. -The motto Mike Royko assigned to how things work around here ("where's mine?")   By: Mark Glennon*   Should Illinois taxpayers fund a grant for expansion...

Illinois ‘Jobs Now’ Plan from 2009 still shoveling you-know-what – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* More "shovel ready" jobs? Governor Quinn announced Saturday $20 million in state grants to 47 museums across the state. Opinions may vary about...

An Appalling Twitter Entry by the Illinois Education Association – WirePoints Original

By: Mark Glennon*   Most of you probably think kids should be taught that somebody's death is no time to insult them, even an enemy. Not...

The unfunded mandate in Chicago’s new pension law is worse than you think – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   "Guaranty provisions" have been highly controversial since municipal unions first began having them inserted into pension reform legislation in 2012. The new...

The headlines should have been “Bill OKs More Taxpayer Debt to Chicago Pensions” – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   How does this pension reform plan sound? "We'll put billions of dollars into the pensions in distant years. Dunno where we we'll...

Wasn’t Obamacare supposed to keep patients out of costly emergency rooms? – WP Original

By Nancy Mathieson*   Almost 50% of emergency room doctors polled said they’ve experienced more patients coming through their doors since January 1st, the day coverage...

The wheels could come off in Illinois sooner than expected – WP Original

“How did you go bankrupt?" Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.” ― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises   By: Mark Glennon*   How will rating agencies, bond investors,...

Onward and Upward: We’re cranking it up at WirePoints and making some changes

By: Mark Glennon*   Our readership continues to grow nicely here at WirePoints, and you will be noticing the following changes:   Nancy Mathieson joining as Contributing Editor....

They’re toast: The impossible fiscal situation of many Illinois cities and villages – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon* Why didn't you tell us? How could you have done this to us? That's the kind cry we'll soon hear from both...

Obamacare in Illinois: by the numbers – WP Original

By: Nancy R. Mathieson*   The 2014 enrollment period for Obamacare health insurance was Oct. 1, 2013 to April 19, 2014. Open-enrollment for 2015 begins November...

The math is clear: Pat Quinn stole the 2010 election using taxpayer money – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon Can a candidate for governor pick up 32,000 votes by spending $50 million? Easily. Anywhere. That's over $1,500 per vote. In Chicago,...

Forget the false choice between defined benefit and 401(k) style plans for public pensions: A hybrid is better – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon A false choice dominates much of the public pension reform debate. Public pensions today are mostly "defined benefit plans." They promise retirees...

Keeping our Families Together – WP Original

  By: Leslie Munger*   As parents, we spend our lives doing everything we can to help our children be successful – in sports, extracurricular activities, and...

The ultimate issue for broke Illinois cities surfaces: What kind of insolvency proceeding will the state allow? – WP Original

  April 16, 2014 By: Mark Glennon* If Springfield lawmakers eventually answer this right, an orderly, fair, though difficult proceeding would be available to desperate Illinois...

Illinois legislature considering burdensome minority disclosure requirement for pension investment advisors – WP Original

April 12, 2014 By: Mark Glennon Illinois pensions outsource most of the work managing their money to private sector investment advisors. The Illinois legislature is...

To a few of the good guys behind the scenes in GrubHub’s formative years: Bravo – WP Original

April 9, 2013  By: Mark Glennon How did two young guys with a business plan become a two billion dollar public company in eight years? ...

Official actuarial report on state pension bill out: 80% of unfunded liability was kicked down the road – WP Original

March 27, 2014 By: Mark Glennon Still think the pension reform bill passed last year was "comprehensive," as the press and Governor Quinn called it?...

Illinois hiding from data essential to considering Madigan’s surcharge on the rich – WP Original

  March 21, 2014 By: Mark Glennon How much of the new revenue that would come from higher taxes on Illinois' rich would be cancelled out...

The teachers union ‘enemies list’ scandal – more deceit, more facts – WP Original

March 17, 2014 By: Mark Glennon Last week we wrote about the liability issues raised by the "enemies list," as Bloomberg called it, whereby the...

Program by Teachers Union to Crush Political Activity on Pensions Expands in Illinois; Multiple Questions of Impropriety and Illegality Arise – Updated – WP Original

March 15, 2014 By: Mark Glennon Conduct taken by a major teachers' union should shock the conscience of anybody concerned about government abuse and respect...

The ‘scarlet letter’ tax Illinois pays for its dirty reputation – WP Original

Updated March 13, 2013 By: Mark Glennon Illinois, we already knew, pays a penalty rate to borrow money because of its bad credit rating, which...

In Illinois Senate, Leadership in Both Parties Must Finally Acknowledge Full Severity of Pension Crisis – WP Original

March 6, 2014 By: Mark Glennon Springfield is taking its time about it, but soon, hopefully, it will legislate reforms of city and local...

UPDATED: Unions pour more money into phony ‘Republican’ PAC running negative ads – WP Original

March 5, 2014 By: Mark Glennon Over the past two days five labor unions contributed an additional $485,000 to the "Republican Fund for Progress and...

Why is Bruce Rauner Running for Governor? Some Telling Comments from 2003

March 4, 2013 By: Mark Glennon Rich Miller at CapitolFax dug up some telling comments by Bruce Rauner from nine years ago. This speaks to...

In Depth: The Hidden Perils in Illinois Local Police and Fire Pension Plans – WP Original

February 27, 2014 by: James T. Palermo* Every Illinoisan who follows the news knows our five statewide public pension funds are in terrible condition. According...

Social Entrepreneurship Done Right: Ted Gonder and Moneythink Tackle Financial Illiteracy – WP Original

February 21, 2014 By: Mark Glennon* Financial illiteracy, it's pretty safe to say, is at the root of many of our problems: over-leveraged homeowners, voter...

Colossal Deceit and Hypocrisy in Illinois Public Union Ad Campaign Against Rauner – WP Original

  "Would Cinda Klickna and her teachers' union like their pension investment in Bruce Rauner's firm rescinded, profits disgorged, and their vote for it annulled,...

Union, Democrat funded campaign to commandeer Republican primary launches: Just imagine if situation were reversed – WP Original

February 12, 2013 By: Mark Glennon Suppose right wing groups started pouring big dollars into an Illinois Democratic primary race through PACs they passed off...

Rich = Bad: Kirk Dillard’s new ads make unequivocal attack on wealth – WP Original

February 6, 2013 By: Mark Glennon Kirk Dillard, Republican candidate for Illinois governor, just released some new ads against opponent Bruce Rauner, a couple of...

Chicago can be the epicenter of an American energy revolution: Steve Forbes and Rahm Emanuel

January 15, 2013 By: Mark Glennon CNBC ran a rather extraordinary interview this morning with two guys who aren't exactly kindred spirits, Rahm Emanuel and...

Econ 101 on the minimum wage debate in Illinois – WP Original

January 8, 2013 By: Mark Glennon   Last week Bloomberg ran a wonderful article titled 'Someone please help the New York Times with Econ 101.' It...

Brain Freeze? Illinois Spending Billions on Global Warming – WP Original

  January 6, 2013 By: Mark Glennon   If you've been outside today and need something to steam you up, this should work: Illinois is spending untold...

Illinois, forget the usual resolutions: 2014 is about duty – WP Original

  January 1, 2014 By: Mark Glennon   Forget the usual New Years resolutions, important as some of them may be. A generational call of responsibility far...

Bruce Rauner for Illinois Governor: 36 Reasons – WirePoints Original

  December 26 , 2013  By: Mark Glennon Straight to the point, here's why Bruce Rauner should be the Republican nominee for Illinois Governor: He's financially...

Thanks to a Local ‘Steed of Apollo’ for a Magical Christmas Eve – WP Original

December 24, 2013  By: Mark Glennon Had I known 45 years ago that someday I'd be introducing my son to Jim Lovell, Christmas Eve that...

Unions Looking to Subvert Republican Primary to Stop Bruce Rauner – WP Original

December 22, 2013  By: Mark Glennon   "I still can’t believe that no other media outlet has yet picked up on the fact that the unions...

Nobel Prize Winner Flags the Central Lie in Illinois Pensions – WP Original

  December 19, 2013  By: Mark Glennon This year's winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Eugene Fama from the University of Chicago, recently made...

Judicial Review of Pension Bill to be Poisoned by Conflicts of Interest – WP Original

  December 7, 2013 By: Mark Glennon   All core parts of the pension bill recently passed are suspect under the Illinois Constitution, which says pensions cannot...

The standout legislator in yesterday’s pension scheme hearings – WP Original

  December 4, 2013 By: Mark Glennon   In yesterday's hearings (more like a show trial) on the 325 page pension bill that most legislators had only...

Pension bill passes: now we’ll find out what’s in it. Here’s what we know so far – WP Original

  December 3, 2013 By: Mark Glennon   The pension bill has passed both houses and will be signed by Governor Quinn.   Savings from the bill will be...

Today’s Fat Cats Get Special Exemption Under Illinois Pension Deal – WP Original

  December 1, 2013 By: Mark Glennon   Under a particularly galling provision in the outline of the pension deal recently released, today's fat cats get special...

Wow! Prominent IL Democrat in Smackdown Match with Leading Union Activist – WP Original

December 1, 2013 By: Mark Glennon   Professional wrestling was never this entertaining: a credentialed Illinois Democrat in a nasty smackdown with a leading union guy.   In...

An independent, honest actuary’s response to the Illinois pension deal – UPDATED

  November 30, 2013 By: Mark Glennon John Bury is an actuary and a nationally recognized pension expert in New Jersey, who writes regularly about public...

Let the unions kill the new Illinois pension deal

November 29, 2013  By: Mark Glennon   Today, key Illinois legislators released the list of "details" of their long awaited pension deal. The release is linked...

Governor Quinn’s Whopping Lie About the Pension Deal – WP Original

  November 28, 2013, By: Mark Glennon   Yesterday, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn issued a statement about the recent pension agreement among legislative leaders in which he...

More evidence big taxpayers are fleeing Illinois – WP Original

November 7, 2013 By: Mark Glennon Spend some time collecting signatures on petitions in high income areas like Kenilworth, Lake Forest or Winnetka to put...

Illinois, don’t throw the game to reform opponents: Reject what’s coming from the pension committee

November 3, 2013, By: Mark Glennon "We're at the one yard line." That's how State Rep. Elaine Nekritz recently described progress by the special Illinois...

New U of I Study: Outlook bleak for state, tax increases didn’t solve much – WP Original

October 29, 2013 By Mark Glennon   The Fiscal Futures Project is sponsored by the Institute for Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois...

New study totals city pension burdens as percent of their revenue: Chicago stinks

October 28, 2013 by Mark Glennon   The Center for State and Local Government Excellence is a non-partisan, non-profit research organization. They recently completed a comprehensive...

Smash the Old Molds: Lt. Governor Candidate Evelyn Sanguinetti Will Surprise When You Hear Her – WP Original

October 13, 2013   Today I heard an important newcomer to Illinois politics speak: Evelyn Sanguinetti, candidate for lieutenant governor and Bruce Rauner's running mate. These...

Here’s the very latest from Illinois’ pension reform committee – WP Original

  October 11, 2013   Pension reform in Illinois, as those who follow it know, is in the hands of a special committee of ten Illinois lawmakers....

Corporate relocation incentives: A problem with no solution – WP Original

By: Mark Glennon*   October 5, 2013   State governments' love-hate view of relocation incentives ends up with love winning, and there's no clear way to change...

The “average” public sector pensions numbers every Illinoisan should read

September 27, 2013 You've been lied to. Pension supporters and public employee unions have long gotten away with claiming average pension payments are in the...

Where it really matters, Chicago’s unfunded pension liability per household is a whopping $900,000 – WP Original

  September 27, 2013 If you follow the pension crisis you're probably especially alarmed by the per-person estimates of unfunded pension liabilities.  What's overlooked, however, is...

The Real Moral of the $670,000 Capitol Doors – WP Original

  September 11, 2013 "What dumb ass signed off on this?"  If the the state was like a corporation its CEO would have that email in...

Superb negotiation strategy of pension reform opponents has them ahead — for now – WP Original

  September 8, 2013   We pension critics have to admit it. Though public opinion is now shifting a bit towards pension reform, it's a different story...

Everything you need to know about actuarial standards in public pensions — in five short points

  August 30, 2013   Just about all numbers you see reported on public pensions come from actuarial consultants hired by the government, whose work accords with...

Even the first step towards fairness in pension reform is ignored in Illinois – WirePoints Original

  Pigs and Paupers, Pensions and Parity   August 25, 2013   If, in blinding contrast to reality, Illinois wanted to reform pensions fairly it would first have to...

“Reform” Committee Teeing Up Pension Liability for Huge Kick Down the Road – WirePoints Original

  August 23, 2013   An outline of ideas being considered by the 10-person Illinois pension committee circulated today. Links are here for Reuters and AP articles....

Bankruptcy is not an option for Illinois cities or other units under current law

  July 29, 2013   Perhaps you've started wondering whether the Bankruptcy Code could offer a fresh start to Illinois, Cook County, Chicago, or other units of...

‘How Money Walks’ — Especially from Illinois

  If you wonder what out-migration does to Illinois' tax base, take a look at numbers compiled by Travis Brown, author of How Money Walks....

“No pension reform, no paychecks”? Why not “no pension reform, no pension contributions”? – WirePoints Original

June 11, 2013 Governor Quinn now says he will withhold pay for state legislators until they pass a pension reform bill. Reaction is generally positive,...

The money is gone — a timeless movie clip for IL legislators and public union bosses

    A financial advisor tries to explain what it means to "have no money" to Walter Matthau's character in A New Leaf linked here. Should be required...

The Empire Strikes Back: Union-Supported Bill to Lien State Cash for Pensions Passes State Senate

  "Pension reform"? Or is it fairer to think of it as a lien on all state cash to ensure it will be spent on...

Madigan offers his pension reform proposal – WirePoints Original

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan finally weighed in yesterday on pension reform, offering a proposal that will surely become the front runner. It already...

What Illinois state-sponsored fraud should be telling us – WirePoints Original

Yesterday the Securities Exchange Commission issued an order that included findings that the State of Illinois committed fraud in  statements and omissions it made...

What Governor Quinn “meant to say” in his budget address: WirePoints Original

Governor Pat Quinn delivered his annual budget address today to a joint session of the General Assembly.  It was mostly finger pointing at legislators...

Parsing through some good news for Illinois — it’s tricky: WirePoints Original

  All's not lost in Illinois. Let’s pull together a few recent articles on the good stuff -- carefully. First, downtown Chicago is thriving. In a...

Udate on pension reform and baffling gamesmanship from Madigan – WirePoints Original

What's going on?  Take your guess. Earlier this week several leading legislators from both parties jointly sponsored a new, broad pension reform proposal described here. ...

Government workers, Quinn have deal for new contract – just don’t ask what it is – WirePoints Original

Congratulations, Illinois. Governor Quinn and AFSCME, the union representing some 35,000 state workers, announced they have reached a deal for a new contract. Just...

Chicago Teachers’ Pension Sinks Further Into the Abyss

  As reported by Crain's this week, problems for Chicago Public Schools worsened with the release of a report showing it will have to come...

Why Kekua — Manti Te’o’s girlfriend — has so much to do with our pension crisis – WirePoints Original

"Kekua" might be defined as "fiction copied from one story to another in the media echo chamber and assumed to be fact."  The infamous...

If those unfunded pensions shown on your property tax bill made you sick, get sicker – WirePoints Original

Property tax bills in Cook County arrived last week and they include what seems like a nice step towards transparency about the pension crisis. ...

Haves and Have Nots in Illinois Pensions – WirePoints Original

Illinois public pensioners range from the deserving, borderline impoverished to the undeserving, shameless pigs, yet those disparities are all but ignored in pension reform...

“Don’t frighten the children”- an actuary’s view of Illinois’ phony pension numbers

How could the state get away with lying about the size of the pension problem and why would the media be asleep at the...

Updated: Bombshell provision in Illinois pension “reform” efforts – WirePoints Original

UPDATE- John Bury, a widely read actuary focused on pensions and quoted in this post, emailed me with his comments on this post, which...

Only a devastating shock will get real action on Illinois pensions, but what? – WirePoints Original

  "I think it's going to reach a point where there's either social disorder or bankruptcy before people will act." That’s what Richard Ravich said about...

Lessons from “On the Waterfront” for Illinois progressives and unions – WirePoints Original

  “You’ve been off in Daisyland.” Terry Malloy   Let’s first be clear: Violent corruption of the kind depicted in Marlon Brando’s 1954 film On the Waterfront is...

How insolvency is supposed to be managed versus how Illinois is managing it – WirePoints Original

Let’s look at where the Illinois fiscal crisis now stands through the lens of how insolvencies are supposed to be handled. Some basic principles...

Five reasons why defined benefit pension plans are poison and must be replaced ASAP – WirePoints Original

The pensions at the center of the storm for Illinois and its localities are “defined benefit” plans -- pensioners receive fixed amounts each month...

Great summary of the Illinois pension crisis

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...

Outside experts size up Illinois pension mess: twice as big as the state admits — WirePoints Original

  "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." Edward. R. Murrow December 9, 2012, Updated January 9, 2012 A primary reason for the fiscal calamity...

Illinois’ body parts likely to be divided among pensions and bondholders — WirePoints Original

December 6, 2012 Legislators in Springfield and public worker unions have said regularly that any pension reform measure should include a guaranty mechanism assuring that...

Illinois teachers’ pension responds: says their assumptions are fine

    In the attached letter to the Wall Street Journal, the head of the Illinois Teachers Retirement System, the state's largest pension fund, responds an...

WirePoints Original: Why Illinois lawmakers can’t possibly set taxes rationally

  Does the additional revenue that comes from a tax increase get cancelled out, in whole or in part, because taxpayers -- especially high earners...

Does Illinois violate its own budget and accounting laws? The state itself says yes — WirePoints Original

By: Mark Glennon*   One reason why Illinois is a fiscal wreck is that the state's budget and accounting are muck, and they are prepared...

Just who is endangering Illinois’ municipal pensioners? WirePoints Original

  We pension pessimists are actually pension villains -- the hardball folks happy to cut pensions, starve retired teachers, steal from cops, and so on....

WirePoints Original: Cost of fiscal storm coming to Illinois will dwarf damages from Sandy and Katrina

By: Mark Glennon* Illinois has yet to come to grips with the enormity of the catastrophe it faces faces from its fiscal mess. Comparison to...

Indiana taxpayers get $360 Million in tax credits from surplus while Illinois wallows in deficits – WirePoints Original

  The difference in performance between Indiana and Illinois governments is truly difficult to grasp. Indiana has announced a $360 Million surplus that will allow it...

WirePoints Original: If Illinois’ business climate is so bad, why are startups here flourishing?

Startups are thriving in Illinois and entrepreneurs in Chicago's tech community now have a dazzling ecosystem envied by most other places in the country. ...

Recent Glennon Quicktakes

Tax increase not working. Illinois bill backlog hits record $16.3 billion.

Illinois' tax-increase-with-no-reforms would "save the state," some supporters told us. Others claimed the new tax increases would cap growth of the unpaid bill balance: "We've...

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Still no reporting on state’s largest pension report

It's no wonder so many Illinoisans remain in the dark on the severity of our pension crisis. On October 6 Illinois published its 900-page Biennial...

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Recent Wirepoints Originals

New Report: Illinois Pension Unfunded Liabilities Worsened By $17 Billion In A Year – Wirepoints Original

A comprehensive, apples-to-apples report on all 671 pensions in Illinois.

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Selectively Deleting Comments is Dishonest – Wirepoints Original

Selectively deleting comments is among the ways of bias. We have two conspicuous offenders in Illinois. It’s dishonest and wrong.

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That Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Ruling Will Have Implications for Illinois – Wirepoints Original

Dry stuff for some, but this will be critical in Illinois, sooner or later.

Is Illinois’ New Budget Balanced? Oh, Please. – Wirepoints Original

Remember the surge of relief in early July when so many celebrated passage of a "balanced budget"? Well, never mind.

Court-Ordered Taxes For Pensions Begin In Illinois; Litigation Turmoil Looms – Wirepoints Original

With effective property tax rates already 5.7%, Harvey is a bloodless turnip. Where else will the courts order higher taxes?

Chump Media: Why Sham Votes Happen In Springfield – WP Original

The Wall Street Journal and FOX Business are among those who botched this one worst.