by Ted Dabrowski, Benjamin VanMetre
Illinois Policy Institute
April 15, 2014
Chicago politicians have exploited city-worker pensions for nearly two decades. They’ve used the city’s pension systems as slush funds and pension benefits as bargaining chips to further their own agenda, with seemingly no regard for Chicago’s fiscal health. Now those pension systems are nearly insolvent and the city is heading toward bankruptcy. Chicago is facing an onslaught of credit downgrades, billion-dollar budget deficits and grim comparisons to Detroit. Chicago’s deepening crisis will soon force politicians to decide between two paths. The first is to use tax hikes to prop up a failed system run by the same politicians who bankrupted it. The second is to give workers control over their own retirements and to make the tough choices necessary to bring about real retirement security for Chicago’s city workers. The Illinois Policy Institute’s proposal follows the second path.