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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 Report on all 671 Illinois public pensions. It’s the state’s most comprehensive published data on pensions, both state and local. Critically, it showed that the pensions sank another $17 billion in the most recent year covered by the report — that’s the total increase in unfunded liabilities. For some perspective, that’s roughly half the annual state government’s entire budget.

Chief Investment Officer magazine has a story on it today. Illinois News Network had one last week. We wrote about it the day we saw it.

But not a single story on it has appeared in the regular media.

In the meantime, the state started to focus on its budget being out of balance by a couple billion dollars. Important as that is, it’s niggling compared to what’s really going on. Those pension losses are as real as any losses, yet they don’t appear in government budgets.

Coming up this week is Rahm’s budget address on Chicago. Expect him to claim his budget is balanced or nearly so. He always does. Pension losses will be ignored. The press will let him get away with it.

Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.

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