Civic Committee's Illinois State Finance Task Force
In the spring of 2006, the Civic Committee formed a special task force of members, chaired by W. James Farrell, former Chairman and CEO of Illinois Tool Works, to evaluate the current state of the State’s finances. Since its inception, the State Finance Task Force has analyzed the State’s financial position and published Facing Facts reports detailing Illinois’ fiscal crisis. Based on the work of its Task Force, the Civic Committee has pressed for significant reforms to the State’s pension and retiree health care programs as well as substantial cuts in other areas of the State’s budget.
The Civic Committee also launched a statewide campaign to raise public awareness about the dire fiscal straits facing Illinois. The campaign has called on State elected officials and candidates to take immediate action to address the State’s massive debt and ongoing budget deficits.
During the spring of 2012, a number of alternative pension reforms have been proposed. As the leading voice for pension reform in Illinois, the Civic Committee has drafted a new report – entitled Just the Facts – that provides a framework for evaluating these proposals. The report lays out the argument for pension reform, describes some of the major proposals under consideration, and presents key principles to guide meaningful reform.
The links below provide more information on the Facing Facts reports, the statewide public awareness campaign and the new Just the Facts report.
Commission to Strengthen Chicago's Pension Funds
On January 11, 2008 Mayor Richard M. Daley announced the formation of the Commission to Strengthen Chicago’s Pension Funds. Lester Crown and Eden Martin of the Civic Committee served on the Commission, which spent two years evaluating the Chicago pension funds and developing recommendations to restore them to financial health.
The four Chicago pension funds – for firemen, policemen, municipal employees and laborers – are in serious financial trouble. In aggregate they have an unfunded liability of almost $15 billion. The policemen’s and firemen’s funds are in the worst shape, and are projected to start running out of money in 2019 without significant reform and increased funding. In addition, it appears that the City does not have a legal obligation to guarantee payment of the pensions if the funds run out of money.
The Mayor’s Commission recently released a report of its findings and recommendations for addressing this issue – however, their recommendations for benefit reform do not go nearly far enough. Lester Crown and Eden Martin published a separate report describing the status of Chicago’s pension funds and the significant reforms – applied to both new employees and current employees prospectively – required to restore the funds to financial health. A link to that report is below.
Civic Committee Chicago's Underfunded Pension Plans Report - April 2010
Illinois Pension Modernization Task Force
Eden Martin, President of the Civic Committee, served as a member of Governor Quinn’s Pension Modernization Task Force and submitted three documents concerning the Civic Committee’s position on pension reform. Please follow the links below to access those documents.
Civic Committee Minority Report - November 2009
Memorandum Opposing Pension Obligation Bonds - October 2009
Civic Committee Proposal to Pension Modernization Task Force (Appendices) - August 2009