What does this chart show? “How much more do Illinois and Chicago owe in pension debt,” says Crain’s Chicago Business.
This is not just future debt. It is what is currently owed. Today.
It is a graphic of current liabilities that are owed to the state’s pension funds because payments into it by the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois were not paid.
Not paid for decades. “We didn’t steal it,” State Representative Elaine Nekritz once told me. “We didn’t have to. We never paid it in the first place.”
Those numbers will get higher and larger so long as payments are not made and the payment schedule is not changed.
No plan under discussion by Rahm Emanuel, John Cullerton or Governor Rauner will make those numbers disappear.
Debts must be paid.
Proposals by smart folks like Ralph Martire would help over time. Raise taxes. Tax income based on ability to pay. Reamortize the debt. A sales tax on products and services used by those who are more wealthy.
But the debt must be paid.