by Ted Dabrowski, Ben VanMetre, Robert Chun
Illinois Policy Institute
September 17, 2013
The city of Chicago has long been regarded as an economic engine of the Midwest. But decades of fiscal mismanagement by government agencies in Chicago have put the metropolis at a crossroads. In July 2013, the city of Chicago released a grim budget report that showed that the city owed billions of dollars in debt and unfunded pension and health insurance liabilities. But the city Chicago is not the only government agency that city residents pay taxes to – taxpayers also fund the operations Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Park District and a large share of Cook County. All told, Chicago residents are officially on the hook for $63.2 billion in government pensions, health insurance and other debt. This staggering figure totals more than $23,000 per Chicago resident, or more than $61,000 per household.