Illinois’s government finances are in notoriously bad shape. The state has well over $200 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, some $73 billion in unfunded state retiree health insurance benefits, and billions in unpaid bills, and it hasn’t had a balanced budget since 2001. Meanwhile, an increasing tax and regulatory burden is driving people and businesses elsewhere, making it even harder for the state to dig itself out of the hole it’s in.
Despite all of that, Illinois’s political leaders recently authorized increases in costly “pension spiking,” under which school district employees receive sharply increased salaries in their last working years, and may cash in unused sick days just before retiring, to give themselves bigger pension payouts. Goldwater Institute Senior Attorney Jacob Huebert explains more about how Illinois taxpayers are getting robbed and what can be done about it here.