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Pension Liabilities Leave City, State With Few Options

A cascade of financial missteps has left Illinois with the worst credit rating in the nation and billions in unfunded pension liabilities.

If the Illinois Supreme Court will not allow existing pension arrangements to be modified, what potential remedies do lawmakers have beyond draconian cuts to public services or unpopular tax hikes?

A conference co-hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Civic Federation on Tuesday sought to lay out those options.

Three of the participants in that conference join us:

Eric Madiar, a Springfield-based lobbyist and attorney and founder of Madiar Government Relations. Madiar was also chief legal counsel for Illinois Senate President John Cullerton.

Elaine Nekritz, a former Democratic state representative from Northbrook and one of the principal architects of a 2013 pension reform measure ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Jeffrey Johnson, president of the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago.

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