State Finance

We are a leading voice for significant reform to the State’s pension and retiree health care programs

Why we’re involved

Illinois has pushed off its financial problems for years.  The State spends beyond its means and leaves future generations to pay the price.  That price tag is now close to $200 billion in unfunded retiree-related liabilities.  This massive debt is crowding out our state's ability to provide for basic public services such as education, public safety and services for our most vulnerable citizens.

No question, Illinois is headed toward financial implosion.  We need meaningful reform now.

What we’ve done

Our 2017 report, Bringing Illinois Back: A Framework for our Future, calls for a comprehensive, long-term plan for restoring Illinois’ fiscal integrity and its reputation among investors, while also making Illinois a better place to live and work. We launched a statewide campaign in 2010 to raise awareness of the situation and encourage elected officials to act.  Illinois is Broke has driven a constant drumbeat of newspaper editorials, put the issue at the top of leaders' agendas and made pension reform the key issue in last year's election campaign.

What we’ve learned

As a thought leader on state finance, we produced the following reports:

Just the Facts 2012
Facing Facts 2009
Facing Facts 2006

And that’s not all 

Over time, the Civic Committee has played a leading role in efforts to resolve critical public finance issues, including:

  • Chicago Pension Crisis
    Lester Crown and Eden Martin served on the Commission to Strengthen Chicago’s Pension Funds.  After the Commission’s recommendation did not go far enough, Lester Crown and Eden Martin published a separate report detailing their suggested reforms.

  • State pension crisis
    In 2009, Civic Committee President Eden Martin served on Governor Quinn’s Pension Modernization Task Force.  Again the Task Force position did not go far enough, and he submitted three documents (Reform Proposal, Statement from R. Eden Martin and Issue Report) on the Civic Committee’s pension reform position.