The number one fiscal priority facing the state of Illinois is the state’s under-funded pension program. Thus far, the pension crisis has been exacerbated by “pension holidays” and general fiscal mismanagement.
Required pension payments, paid annually by the state, are increasing quickly. But before they are projected to DOUBLE by 2045, we need to increase our upfront payments NOW and refinance our way out of a growing deficit.
We cannot continue to “pass the buck” to future generations of Illinoisans. We need an immediate solution that prioritizes responsibility to taxpayers and pension claims.
As the additional pension payments decrease from the initial $2.4 billion, the remainder should be used to lower property taxes on a per-pupil basis. So year one, $2.4 billion is going to shore up the pensions. By year nine, all $2.4 billion is going to property tax relief. For every additional dollar in state funding a school district receives, its levy will be required to drop by exactly $1. That $2.4 billion is roughly $1,200 per pupil. That amount would lower the property taxes where I live by 20 percent. The exact amount of relief per district would vary based on local per-pupil spending, but it would be significant throughout the state.
Actually having a long-term solution to both problems would dramatically improve our credit rating, business climate and borrowing costs. This would lead to the best way to improve our debt situation — growth.