Bad news for retirees in Illinois

We know Illinois is notorious for pension problems. But just how bad is the issue, and how does the state stack up with its neighbors? According to Truth In Accounting’s State Data Lab, Illinois’ amount of due unfunded retirement benefits is staggering, even compared to nearby states and the national average. Detroit, Michigan is famous for pension problems and debt, but Illinois’ levels of unfunded retirement benefits more than triples Michigan’s ($157.54 billion and $51.09 billion, respectively). Illinois’ levels of unfunded liabilities also far surpass the national average level of $23.75 billion per state.

Most shocking is how Illinois’ unfunded retirement benefits compare to those of the other states in the region: almost all of the Midwest states, excluding Michigan and Illinois, reported unfunded retirement liabilities of about $10 billion or less, give or take. Iowa had $1.91 billion in due retirement benefits, Indiana had $12.87 billion, Minnesota had $3.76 billion, Missouri had $7.85 billion, Ohio had $9.5 billion, and Wisconsin had $1.04 billion. Given Illinois’ spending problems and massive taxpayer burdens, their levels of unfunded retirement liabilities is only moving the state further in the wrong direction. Illinois has dug itself deep in a pension problem, and it would do well to take some pointers from its midwestern neighbors.

Want to learn more about pension statistics in your state? Find out here using Truth in Accounting’s State Data Lab.