$40 Million Unfunded Pension Liability (and climbing)

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1 - 20 of 24 Comments Last updated Mar 4, 2013
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ItsOnlyMoney

Blue Island, IL

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#1
Jan 29, 2013
 
Up from last property tax bill (@35million), the unfunded pension liability is now 40 million and growing.
Have any of the mayoral candidates addressed (or even comprehend) this issue?
This is money already spent (read owed to retirees and soon to be retirees).
Who will make up the difference?
If Blue Island spent UTTERLY NO MONEY in one and a half years (and put all that $ into the pension fund), the deficit would still not be paid up.
Does anyone see a problem here?
Remember, It's Only Money.
captain free

Midlothian, IL

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#2
Feb 1, 2013
 
why am i paying over 6 gs to live in ol b.i.?
oh yeah pensions gotta love them public unions like the teachers give me more more more. its all about the kids you know. thats why our schools rank so highly in the world. oh they dont? never mind
Build BI2

United States

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#3
Feb 2, 2013
 
The unfunded pension didn't get to $40 million over night ...it has been steadily growing ..thanks to failed policies of the the state, county and city fueled by bloated unions and state pension plans. Failed policies of the Progressive party administration leasding to a failing Blue Island. Taxea continue to rise at every level ...our "educators" are interested in one thing ...collecting a fat and undeserved pension. Look at the students they are producing! The system is imploding ... Can Blue Island's bankruptcy be far behind ..
Greed

Midlothian, IL

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#4
Feb 2, 2013
 
Build BI2 wrote:
The unfunded pension didn't get to $40 million over night ...it has been steadily growing ..thanks to failed policies of the the state, county and city fueled by bloated unions and state pension plans. Failed policies of the Progressive party administration leasding to a failing Blue Island. Taxea continue to rise at every level ...our "educators" are interested in one thing ...collecting a fat and undeserved pension. Look at the students they are producing! The system is imploding ... Can Blue Island's bankruptcy be far behind ..
And our city treasurer is like Nero playing his cithara while Rome burned.
Salary thru Pension Plan

Chicago, IL

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#5
Feb 3, 2013
 

Judged:

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Blue Island Taxpayers sponsored the 30 year entitlement Friends and Family Salary through Pension Plan.
John

Chicago, IL

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#6
Feb 3, 2013
 
Direct Deposit, I'm trying to tell you.
ItsOnlyMoney

Blue Island, IL

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#7
Feb 3, 2013
 
If one cares to look at most of my past posts, I firmly believe that the ONLY way that this pension debacle will be solved is through Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
Will the future city management team have the chutzpah (I prefer the less profane road) to renegotiate all labor contracts?
The dollar has been steadily devalued, and yet labor wants more.
This is not an anti-labor post, it is a treatise in economics. When the $s are simply not there, then the money pool has to be decreased, or simply stated:
When the well is running dry, we do not put a bigger bucket on the string.
Then again, ItsOnlyMoney
Me and My Family

Chicago, IL

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#8
Feb 3, 2013
 
ItsOnlyMoney wrote:
If one cares to look at most of my past posts, I firmly believe that the ONLY way that this pension debacle will be solved is through Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
Will the future city management team have the chutzpah (I prefer the less profane road) to renegotiate all labor contracts?
The dollar has been steadily devalued, and yet labor wants more.
This is not an anti-labor post, it is a treatise in economics. When the $s are simply not there, then the money pool has to be decreased, or simply stated:
When the well is running dry, we do not put a bigger bucket on the string.
Then again, ItsOnlyMoney
One can never have too much money, too many pensions, or occupy too many elected positions. As long as there is Direct Deposit and there are taxpayers we will collect a check from our Friends and Family Salary to Pension Suction Program.......it is after all, our money and our collect a check program.
Carmine

Midlothian, IL

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#9
Feb 3, 2013
 
Me and My Family wrote:
<quoted text>
One can never have too much money, too many pensions, or occupy too many elected positions. As long as there is Direct Deposit and there are taxpayers we will collect a check from our Friends and Family Salary to Pension Suction Program.......it is after all, our money and our collect a check program.
I agree 100%
Years Later

Chicago, IL

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#10
Feb 4, 2013
 
Big question looms in pension debate: Are cuts legal?

SPRINGFIELD — As lawmakers resume the debate over Illinois's growing retirement fund debts in the coming weeks, perhaps the biggest looming question is whether cutting employees' pension benefits as proposed is legal.

No one knows for sure how the Illinois Supreme Court would eventually rule.

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But the stakes are high enough — with nearly $100 billion in pension debt — that even before lawmakers can find a compromise on pension cost cuts, an eventual lawsuit is on everyone's minds.

And if lawmakers can't agree over the legal question in the debate over pensions, it could become yet another point of gridlock in Springfield this year — maybe among the biggest of them all.

Many of those involved say a lawsuit is inevitable, no matter what lawmakers do. Union leaders have promised one over most pension cuts.

"We believe the only route to a pension solution that is fair, sustainable and constitutionally sound is by working together to develop a solution that all parties can support," said Anders Lindall, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.

If there is a lawsuit, major pension cuts intended to save the state billions of dollars a year eventually could be struck down by the courts following years of review.

Then, lawmakers and the governor would be stuck with even more debt and even tougher choices about how to pay for schools and care for the disabled, not to mention perhaps having to once again start working on the controversial issue from scratch.

That could be the worst nightmare for lawmakers who have already worked for years to break gridlock over one of the state's most pressing financial issues.

And it's a bad dream that bond-rating agencies warned of just this month when S&P downgraded Illinois' credit.

"If there is meaningful legislative action on reform, we believe that there could be implementation risk based on the potential for legal challenges, and it could be several years before reform translates into improved funded ratios and budget relief," an S&P statement reads.

The Illinois Constitution doesn't say much on the matter, but its language appears to be blunt. It says a state pension "shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired."
Years Later

Chicago, IL

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#11
Feb 4, 2013
 
Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, has for more than a year argued that because the constitution says pensions are a contract, lawmakers can't take benefits away without giving something in return.

As a result, he has pushed a plan that would guarantee state-subsidized health care for retirees who take smaller pensions. People could keep their current retirement plan, but they'd lose health care.

"Those who support cutting benefits without offering choices should keep in mind that the severity of a crisis shouldn't trigger blatant disregard for constitutional principles," said Cullerton spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon.

A competing plan by Democratic Reps. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook and Daniel Biss of Evanston offers no such choice to retirees. They lay out a plan to cut pension cost-of-living increases, have workers pay more into the system and set up an entirely new retirement plan for teachers. Supporters of that plan say the severity of the crisis could make their plan acceptable in court.

Chicago-Kent College of Law professor Mark D. Rosen has argued that idea could be deemed constitutional despite the apparent ban on reduced benefits if the situation was desperate enough and lawmakers could convince judges the move had to be made for the good of the state.

"We have a lot of constitutional language that is written in absolute ways," Rosen said.

The potential problem with that argument is that the pension systems also were in dire condition in 1970 when the state's constitution was written.

In fact, delegates who drafted the document protected state pensions at least partly because the state was in danger of not paying out benefits to retirees.

Just as Gov. Pat Quinn has used an orange cartoon snake named Squeezy to try to illustrate the harm the state's pension debt does to the state budget, a 1960s report on the same topic included a tornado, sucking up cash.

Some officials at the time even tried to get delegates to soften the constitutional commitment — hedge a little and let future lawmakers cut benefits if they needed to.

That effort was rejected multiple times, and those rejections are part of the reason Cullerton thinks the Illinois Constitution is unbending on cutting benefits without offering retirees something in return.

As a result, Cullerton's most recent proposal combines part of the Nekritz and Biss plan with his own idea to offer a choice to workers.

That bill lays out pension cuts similar to Biss and Nekritz's proposal, but says if judges reject that, his backup plan could become law.

"He is willing to advance a bill that doesn't include the choice element as long as the same bill includes a default plan with a constitutional framework for reform," Phelon said.

Concerns about that plan include skepticism the state would save enough money if teachers and workers are given a choice. If not enough of them take the deal for smaller pension benefits, Illinois might not save the money lawmakers are looking for.

Not only that, but Rosen argues that the very existence of a backup plan takes away from the argument that the need for steeper cuts is urgent.

"That undermines the necessity of plan A," he said.

Of course, even getting a plan to the courts would require Democrats, Republicans, Chicagoans, suburbanites and downstaters to agree on a single proposal in Springfield — an agreement that has so far been impossible to find.

Upcoming budget talks and possibly austere budgets for schools and other programs could force a compromise, but the legal question will loom large.

"One, he is willing to compromise," Phelon said of Cullerton. "Two, he will continue to fight for a proposal that respects the pension clause."
What n Blazes

Chicago, IL

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#12
Feb 5, 2013
 
[Chicago-Kent College of Law professor Mark D. Rosen has argued that idea could be deemed constitutional despite the apparent ban on reduced benefits if the situation was desperate enough and lawmakers could convince judges the move had to be made for the good of the state.]

No doubt that is the most attractive direction for elected officials who will then report; they had no say in the matter but could have been paying into the pension system as they should have all along.
Boooooooo

Midlothian, IL

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#13
Feb 5, 2013
 
I blame city treasurer Carmine Biloto. What are you doing Carmine? Why did you let the debt get out of hand It seems like you do not know what you are doing.
Do You Know

Chicago, IL

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#14
Feb 8, 2013
 
Where your pension monies are?
Know those monies are not where they should be.
Blue Island voter

Midlothian, IL

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#15
Feb 8, 2013
 
Do You Know wrote:
Where your pension monies are?
Know those monies are not where they should be.
No thanks, to city treasurer Carmine Biloto. He never lived up to his political promises of 2009, now Blue Island is in worse financial condition.
Where is the Money

Chicago, IL

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#16
Feb 18, 2013
 
Where is the money and WHO VOTED for this?
On the Record

Chicago, IL

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#17
Feb 18, 2013
 
Where is the Money wrote:
Where is the money and WHO VOTED for this?
Please place the missing funds in the LOST and FOUND.
You Decide

Chicago, IL

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#18
Feb 19, 2013
 
What n Blazes wrote:
[Chicago-Kent College of Law professor Mark D. Rosen has argued that idea could be deemed constitutional despite the apparent ban on reduced benefits if the situation was desperate enough and lawmakers could convince judges the move had to be made for the good of the state.]

No doubt that is the most attractive direction for elected officials who will then report; they had no say in the matter but could have been paying into the pension system as they should have all along.
Mike, Carmine, Mark, and the mayor led ribber stamp council GOT IT WRONG when they underfunded the municipal pensions. Was there a reasonable choice? Was it a Case of Robbing Peter to pay Paul?
Guilty ThroughAssociati on

Midlothian, IL

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#19
Feb 19, 2013
 

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City Treasurer Carmine Bilotto did not do his work, he let us down. Alderman Potaska who is Chairman of the Finance Committee did not do his work he let us down. These two career politicians have no business being in public office. Who ever is with them is definitely Guilty Through Association.
On Record

Chicago, IL

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#20
Feb 20, 2013
 
You Decide wrote:
<quoted text>
Mike, Carmine, Mark, and the mayor led ribber stamp council GOT IT WRONG when they underfunded the municipal pensions. Was there a reasonable choice? Was it a Case of Robbing Peter to pay Paul?
Poor financial decisions were made repeatedly at every level for years and years and years.
The followers followed their leader.
As they continue to retire they will want a check from the municipal pension they knowingly and willingly underfunded.
These failures and actions have very serious financial consequences for taxpayers and the municipality.

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