Government-Worker Pensions Take Away Funding Meant For Students

Illinois has been operating for nearly eight months without a state budget, and the effects are rippling through the state. But to a large extent, their blame is misplaced. While the budget crisis is causing immediate funding problems, it’s the Illinois pension mess that’s really causing all the pain.

overnment spending for education – and for every other core service on which the state spends – is being overwhelmed by government-worker pension costs. Skyrocketing pension costs are leaving fewer dollars for everything else, including counselors and college grants. Today, more than 25 percent of the state’s $32 billion budget (what’s typically called the general fund) is being consumed by pension costs for downstate and suburban teachers, public-university and college workers, state employees, judges and state lawmakers. That’s a record amount.

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