Suburban fire and police pensions underfunded by $5 billion – chicagotribune.com
Suburbs from wealthy to working-class have combined to dig a $5 billion hole for taxpayers on the hook to pay for the pensions of police officers and firefighters. A Tribune analysis of the Depression-era pension system found that suburban leaders’ failures and missteps have collectively helped create another staggering layer of crisis beyond the better-known problems that have the state and city of Chicago in a stranglehold. Some communities are now slashing budgets or even laying off workers as they try to reconcile the promises they made to cops and firefighters with the amount of money actually set aside for them. “I feel at the moment as if I’m lying to every new hire to the police and fire departments by promising them a pension I’m not sure I can deliver,” said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. Of the 300-plus pension funds across the region, only about 20 are rated by the state as fully funded.