Why Defined Benefits Can’t Work

by Ted Dabrowski | Illinois Policy Institute

Flaws of the defined benefit system are really at the core of the state’s pension problems.

Introduction

Jim Edgar's Pension Ramp has forced billions of debt on every man, woman, and child in Illinois.

Jim Edgar’s Pension Ramp has forced billions of debt on every man, woman, and child in Illinois.

One of the most common narratives regarding the pension crisis in Illinois is that the state’s five pension systems are underfunded because politicians “skipped” pension payments. This narrative has prompted legislators to add to pension reform proposals a “funding guarantee” they say will prevent the pension crisis from repeating itself in the future.

Lowering Illinois Property Taxes Through Consolidation

Absurdly high property taxes demand bold reforms from Illinois lawmakers. New recommendations from a state task force show exactly what kind.

by Austin Berg

Illinois has the second-highest property taxes in the nation, but it’s likely the state will take the No. 1 spot in taxing homeowners very soon. For too many Illinois families, property taxes have become a second mortgage they can never pay off.

Trial Lawyers Hold Worker’s Comp Reforms Hostage

Breaking down the overall high cost and regulatory burden borne by businesses.

by Michael Lucci

Illinois’ workers’ compensation system is the most costly in the region, according to a 2014 biennial study of all states by the state of Oregon. The Oregon study compares workers’ compensation costs among states, averaged across industries, and shows that Illinois has the most expensive system in the Midwest and the seventh-most-expensive system nationwide.

Busting the Springfield Power Monopoly: Why Illinois Needs Term Limits

The defiance of certain Democrats in the General Assembly shows House Speaker Mike Madigan’s stranglehold on power is weakening.

by Jim Long | Illinois Policy Institute

Decades of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s failed policies are catching up to him. The tactics employed by Madigan to score political points against Gov. Bruce Rauner have resulted in rock-bottom approval ratings for the speaker and a weakening of his power over Democrats in the Illinois House of Representatives.

Madigan will mark 45 years as a member of Illinois’ House of Representatives in January. He has held a firm grip on Springfield as speaker of the House, having served in that position for all but two years since assuming the role in 1983. But now Madigan’s grip on power is starting to loosen, due in part to the Republican caucus’ standing with Rauner on crucial votes, but also due to the speaker’s having lost some of his own caucus at critical times.

Illinoisans Pay A Second Mortgage In Property Taxes.

by Michael Lucci | Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois property taxes are now so high that they are equivalent to a second mortgage, according to a new study from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, a Washington-based tax-research and -education center.

The report, which shows the effective property-tax rates in each state, ranks Illinois as the second-highest property-tax state in the U.S. The top spot goes to New Jersey, where the effective property-tax rate is 2.38 percent, barely higher than Illinois’ 2.32 percent.

01_PropertyTaxes_JobsGrowth

Why won’t Illinois lawmakers reform their own pensions?

by Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner | Illinois Policy Institute

The pension fund for Illinois lawmakers is the state’s most insolvent system. Taxpayers bail it out every year. If they didn’t, the General Assembly Retirement System, or GARS, would only have enough assets to pay retired politicians for another 2.5 years.

Illinois politicians face no obstacles to reforming their own retirement system, so why haven’t they?

Illinois Property Taxes As High As Your Mortgage!

From the Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois property taxes are now so high that they are equivalent to a second mortgage, according to a new study from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, a Washington-based tax-research and -education center.

The report, which shows the effective property-tax rates in each state, ranks Illinois as the second-highest property-tax state in the U.S. The top spot goes to New Jersey, where the effective property-tax rates is 2.38 percent, barely higher than Illinois’ 2.32 percent.

Madigan Sham-Budget Packed With Wasteful Spending

The broken state budget proposed by House Speaker Mike Madigan includes spending on wine production, mosquito abatement and a student newspaper.
by David Giuliani | Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois’ political leaders are throwing up their hands, putting together a last-minute budget with a $3 billion deficit.

They have turned to their well-worn script: State government is cut to the bone, and it is left with just one solution – raise taxes.

Yet researchers at the Illinois Policy Institute have gone through the budget and found numerous examples of spending that has little to do with core government services.

This year’s legislative session ends May 31. Lawmakers need a simple majority to pass a budget. After that, the bar rises to a three-fifths vote. Lawmakers’ fight with the governor will probably last for months to come.

Many items in House Speaker Mike Madigan’s proposed budget are earmarks, meaning money designated for specific agencies and organizations. Legislative leaders likely inserted these items to win over particular lawmakers – all a part of the horse trading in Springfield that results in mountains of unnecessary spending.

The budget also picks winners and losers in the business community. This is not only wasteful, but should not be the role of government.