but when it comes to irresponsible pension promises, Chicago is not alone. Many states are underfunding the promises made by their politicians. Most often it is Democratic politicians pandering to public employee unions who are happy to take all they can get without regard to affordability.
Politicians don’t want the funding costs converted to tax increases, so they either don’t fund to the required level or they seek other schemes for some funding. In New Jersey they made the lottery an asset of the teachers pension fund thus diverting it from its intended purpose. In Chicago it’s a new casino – an indirect tax on those who can’t afford it.
Chicago government-worker pensions are massively under-funded. So in typical Chicago-land fashion, the City Council is betting on casino revenue to plug the pension gap. Do taxpayers and workers feel lucky?
The police and fire-fighter pension funds are only about 20% funded—among the worst in the country—even though 80% of city property tax dollars go toward pensions. The city’s annual pension payments have risen by $1 billion over the past three years. Perhaps the city would have less crime if it hired more police officers and paid less for pensions.
Blame Democratic politicians who over the decades have rewarded their labor allies with generous retirement benefits but haven’t socked away money to pay for them. Instead, Chicago’s political machine has frittered away taxpayer dollars buying votes. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker last year signed a bill boosting Chicago firefighter pensions,Wall Street Journal