Public pensions in Illinois

April 8, 2011

Public pensions in Illinois

An introduction to a crucial issue


Pensions represent a significant component in the total compensation packages of employees in the public and private sectors. The financial viability and health of pension systems is being called into question as the baby boom generation ages, life expectancy increases, and the state and nation face public-sector budget crises. Nationwide, underfunding of state pension funds totals more than $3 trillion. Illinois has the worst underfunded pension liability in the entire nation. "Public Pensions in Illinois: An Introduction to a Crucial Issue" provides a non-partisan, evidence-based analysis of some of the key pension reform issues in Illinois, including:

  • A primer on pensions and options for reform: why are pensions important, how do they work, and what are the state's options for dealing with accumulated liabilities?
  • A discussion of the legal issues surrounding pension reform, with special attention paid to the state constitution's Pension Clause.
  • A look at other states' pension systems and the problems they face, and discussion about how Illinois compares


(.PDF 2.25 MB)

Research Area: Fiscal and Economic Policy

Policy Initiative: none